SOEs continue to set up their own standalone finance houses

By Bao Chang ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-01-09 07:23:49

Ten more created during 2012, meaning 145 now exist, with capital worth $553 billion

Independent, non-banking financial institutions are becoming one of the fastest growing sectors in China, according to new figures, which show 145 now exist nationwide.

Last year, more than 10 central State-owned enterprises created standalone financial operations, said the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which is responsible for supervising 118 central SOEs, 70 of which now have their own financial companies.

By November, those 145 institutions controlled capital assets worth 3.44 trillion yuan ($553 billion), and managed funds worth more than 30 trillion yuan for their parent companies, according to data released by China Securities Journal.

Industry insiders are predicting the sector's momentum will continue this year, growing into what has already become an important source of alternative financing in China.

Currently, the country's biggest alternative source of credit is trust companies, whose lending surged by more than 40 percent in 2012, compared with a 15 percent growth in bank lending.

The creation of financial institutions by central SOEs came about as an effort to improve their own financing capabilities and capital management, at a time when bank lending was being cut back.

The average fund concentration within those 118 central SOEs is more than 50 percent, which reduces enterprises' capital operation costs and improves resources allocation, said officials.

The latest additions to this burgeoning finance sector came last month, when China's two largest subway vehicle manufacturers, CSR Co Ltd and CNR Co Ltd, successively set up their own finance companies using registered capital of more than 1 billion yuan.

"The establishment of financing units within SOEs gives out a strong signal, showing that those State-owned industrial giants are trying to use their capital more effectively amid the current tightening in credit conditions," said Chen Daofu, department chief at the Financial Research Institute of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

Zhan Yanjing, the chairman of CSR Finance Company Co Ltd, said that amid the rapid development of China's railway infrastructure, CSR's different businesses have expanded fast, leading to bigger and longer-term capital requirements within the corporation.

"The process has put greater demands on cash flow and the financial capabilities needed to improve the group's overall strength and efficiency," Zhan said.

Its newly established finance unit will be developed into an independent and modern financial enterprise, taking charge of fund management and providing other financial services, the company added in a statement.

The State-owned train maker plans to increase its annual revenues to 140 billion yuan by 2015, up from 89.3 billion yuan in 2011, and the company added that the new unit will also help it become a leading multinational railway solutions supplier.

With a registered capital of 1.2 billion yuan, CNR Finance Co Ltd was created on Dec 6, also in a bid to boost the parent companies financial management capabilities.

Other leading central SOEs that have established their own finance houses include China Railway Construction Corp Ltd and CITCI Group Corp.

(China Daily 01/09/2013 page15)

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