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China's State-owned enterprises made major progress in transferring their assets into listed companies during 2012, according to the latest official figures.
By the end of last year, 953 State-owned companies had gone public, accounting for 38.5 percent of all the companies listed on A-share market, said the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC, on Thursday.
The companies had a total market value of 13.71 trillion yuan ($2.2 trillion), worth more than half that of the total market, the data released by the SASAC showed.
From January to November last year, national SOEs generated revenues of 34.2 trillion yuan, up 10.3 percent from a year earlier. Their profits decreased by 6.9 percent to 1.7 trillion yuan.
China's State-owned enterprises are in the middle of wide-ranging market-driven reforms - which involve listing assets, carrying out restructuring, improving corporate governance, and strengthening their managements, including the appointment of outside board directors - all of which are aimed at stabilizing growth.
"Central and local SOEs took further steps on pushing forward the listings and establishing outside board directors last year, and we will continue to deepen and complete the task this year," said Wang Yong, director at SASAC.
Wang made the remarks during an asset supervision and management conference, attended by heads of SASAC subsidiaries from different provinces, cities and autonomous regions.
He revealed that half of the SOEs in Chongqing municipality, for instance, had been listed or had listed their main businesses by the end of 2012.
Increasing numbers of SOEs in Henan and Hunan provinces have attempted to go public on overseas stock markets, he added, while those in Hebei province had tried hard to recruit outside board directors.
Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corp, one of China's biggest steel enterprises, officially appointed five outside board members last month recommended by SASAC, after which the company convened its first board meeting.
The five include officials from China Iron and Steel Association and former executives of Aviation Industry Corp of China, and China National Petroleum Corp.
Zhang Guangning, chairman of the board at the Anshan-based central SOE, said the official establishment of a board is a key step toward developing the company into a multinational steel enterprise, and an effective way to realize the maintenance and growth of State-owned assets.
"This move will provide more support as it transforms from being a money-losing company to a profitable one," Zhang said.
During the first three quarters of last year, Anshan Steel lost 3.2 billion yuan.
Of the 118 central SOEs, 51 have officially established boards of directors with outside members.
In 2005, Baosteel Group Corp became the first SOE to set up an official board system, according to SASAC.
"In 2013, SASAC will make greater efforts to deepen the reform of SOEs, varying the operations of State-run assets and strengthening the regulation of the board system," Wang added.
He pointed out that the reform of the SOEs had entered a tricky time, as business across many sector had been dropping, mainly as a result of global economic difficulties and falling international demand.
"Transforming SOEs into stock market companies and improving board regulation is still in its infancy, so we should make more of an effort this year," Wang added.
(China Daily 01/11/2013 page16)