CHINA> National
ICBC holds $152 m of Lehman's bonds
Updated: 2008-09-17 22:43

BEIJING -- The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said its mainland and overseas branches held a total of US$151.8 million in bonds of or related to the bankrupt US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

ICBC said it was considering to draw provisions for the said bonds.

Related readings:
 Barclays seen close to deal for Lehman assets
 Lehman files for bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth-largest US investment bank, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, a move which triggered large scale upheaval in the global financial market.

ICBC directly had an exposure of 139 million US dollars of advanced bonds, which would allow the lender to have priority in claiming over other bond and option holders in the bankruptcy of the issuer.

The Macao-based Seng Heng Bank Limited, an ICBC subsidiary, held 12.81 million US dollars worth of bonds related to a Lehman Brothers trust.

The Lehman bankruptcy would not constitute a substantial impact on ICBC, the bank said, adding it would still keep monitoring market changes, evaluate the risk of the said bonds and draw equivalent write-down provisions according to prudence principle.

The said bond investment accounted for 0.03 percent of ICBC's total bond portfolio and 0.01 percent of its total assets, if compared to the figures in its 2008 half-year report.

ICBC shares in the domestic stock market sank by the daily limit of 10 percent to 3.42 yuan (50 US cents) on Wednesday.

The lender was not the only Chinese bank influenced. China Merchants Bank said earlier in the day in a stock exchange filing that it held 70 million US dollars worth of bonds issued by Lehman. Its stock plunged 9.96 percent to finish at 14.47 yuan, its lowest since December 2006.

Bank of China, which was reported to have extended 50 million US dollars in credit to Lehman, slid 6.31 percent to 2.97 yuan.