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ICBC says to sell 10% stake, eyes listing
Updated: 2005-04-28 16:28

China's biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), said Thursday it was discussing with foreign investors to sell a 10 percent stake by year-end to pave the way to go public in 2006 or 2007.

ICBC is expected to be the next target of Beijing's banking reforms and receive up to $50 billion in state funds before possibly listing, following in the footsteps of Bank of China and China Construction Bank.

"Within this year, we will finish financial reforms and become a shareholders' company and introduce foreign investors," ICBC President and Chairman Jiang Jianqing told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Singapore.

He said these steps must be taken before the bank could consider a public listing either next year or in 2007.

ICBC last week received a smaller-than-expected capital injection of $15 billion from the central government to help it clean up its balance sheet.

"We are in the midst of negotiations (with foreign investors)... because our market cap is large, we hope to introduce strategic investors at about 10 percent," Jiang said.

Xinhua reported in March that Dutch-Belgian financial group Fortis had met with the bank.

Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Thursday Beijing could have to spend a further $190 billion to bail out ICBC and another troubled state-owned commercial bank, Agricultural Bank of China.

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