Chinese bank to sell $10b stake to investors
The Bank of China, on of th the country's largest lenders, plans to sell stakes worth 10 billion dollars to strategic investors to help it recapitalise.
The paper said the bank was searching for two or three potential overseas investors to buy strategic stakes.
On plans for an initial public offering (IPO), Zhu said: "An IPO this year is unlikely to happen, but we expect it to take place next year."
Earlier this month, the Financial Times quoted unidentified sources as saying a 3.0 to 4.0 billion dollar IPO would not happen until the first quarter of 2006.
Officials at the Bank of China were not immediately available for comment.
The bank is in the midst of a major restructuring program to trim the fat and make itself more competitive ahead of regulations that will allow greater foreign competition at the end of 2006.
In December 2003, China Construction Bank and Bank of China were the first to receive cash injections -- 22.5 billion dollars each -- to help overhaul their portfolio overflowing with bad loans.
Along with the other big state-owned banks, which include Agricultural Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank, they are racing to clean up non-performing loans in order to meet listing requirements.
Regulators hope that pushing state-owned banks to go public will bring greater transparency to the sector.
On Monday, China Construction Bank said it will offer shares in Hong Kong as it presses ahead with the long awaited plan.
Another major Chinese bank, the Bank of Communications, the country's fifth largest, is reportedly preparing to list at the end of June in Hong Kong, although the bank has yet to make a statement.