China banks target public listings in 2006
Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, two of the mainland's big four state-owned commercial banks, are aiming to list shares next year, AFP reported.
"We hope that in the first half of next year when we have a market window we can issue our IPO," Bank of China vice chairman Li Lihui told an investment conference in Beijing Friday.
He did not give further details but Bank of China has been reorganizing to pave the way for its planned Initial Public Offer (IPO).
It had previously said it planned to list in the second half of this year.
Bank of China was one of two banks selected by the Chinese government in 2003 to pilot financial restructuring and corporate governance reforms.
It was given a 22.5 billion dollars injection and ordered to turn itself into a profitable operation that could compete against the army of international lenders set to enter China under WTO agreements at the end of 2006.
In a similar vein, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China vice chairman Yang Kaisheng told the confernece that his bank was looking for more potential foreign partners and to list its shares next year,
Yang added: "We are looking at potential foreign investors."
He said that the state run bank, China's biggest lender, would likely sign up partners after it reorganizes as a shareholding company. He gave no timetable for the reorganization.
Yang also did not give any further details about the plans for the stock offer.
Sources have said the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's plan to sell a three billion dollar stake to a foreign consortium could be finalized this year.
The sources have said that Goldman Sachs, Allianz Group and American Express (Amex) have signed a memorandum which would see them take a combined 10 percent in the bank.
Beijing is keen to ensure its big banks move ahead with listing plans in order to attract funds and make them more competitive.
Regulators also hope that pushing the state banks to go public and to bring foreign strategic investors on board will bring greater transparency to the sector.