• Major China bank sells stake to strategic investors

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    SHANGHAI: China’s broadest bank by branch numbers has sold a one-sixth stake to strategic investors for more than 45 billion yuan ($7 billion) ahead of an expected flotation, official media reported Wednesday.

    The 10 firms buying into the state-owned Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) include Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, UBS Group bank, and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, the official news agency Xinhua said.

    The institution, founded in 2007 in an effort to boost financial services in rural areas of China, has 40,000 branches—more than any other bank in the country—and has served nearly half a billion customers as of September, according to its website.

    Its total assets reached 6.8 trillion yuan in September, it said, but its bad loans ratio has been rising for the past three years, climbing to 0.64 percent by the end of 2014.

    Beijing says it is pushing reforms among its lumbering state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as it seeks to make the economy more efficient, with measures including initial public offerings to try to instill them with more market discipline.

    PSBC is expected to list in Hong Kong in 2016, according to reports.

    AFP

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