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IFC Plans Investment in Bank of Beijing


Beijing
Wenqin Zhu

Phone: +(8610) 6505 8686 x8060

Email:
wzhu@ifc.org

Hong Kong

Desmond Dodd

Phone: +(852) 2509 8183

Email:
ddodd@ifc.org

Washington

Georg Schmidt

Phone: +(202) 458 2934

Email:
gschmidt@ifc.org


Beijing, April 8, 2005 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced today that its board has approved plans for IFC to purchase a 5 percent equity stake in Bank of Beijing. IFC‘s support comes in coordination with an agreement by ING Groep N.V.’s wholly owned subsidiary ING Bank to acquire up to a 19.9 percent holding as part of a broader strategic alliance with BOB. This combined acquisition forms part of an issue of new shares by Bank of Beijing to domestic and foreign investors to raise up to RMB 2.2 billion ($266 million).

BOB is the second largest city commercial bank in China and the third largest bank in Beijing, employing over 3,600 staff. It serves retail and corporate clients through 118 branches. It has a network of 291 ATMs and a fast-growing e-banking business. At the end of 2004, Bank of Beijing had total assets of RMB209 billion ($25
bn).

Mr. Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s director for global financial markets said “IFC’s participation in this project is part of a strategy to assist ongoing reform and restructuring of China’s financial sector. Our investment in selected banks will help them achieve higher standards and begin the transformation toward becoming model institutions.”


“IFC’s support for this transaction opens a new phase in a relationship with Bank of Beijing that spans nearly a decade,” IFC Associate Director Karin Finkelston said, “With a strong foundation and a new commitment from ING Bank, Bank of Beijing is well positioned to become more competitive, better serve clients, and set standards for the domestic banking industry.”


Mr. Yan Bingzhu, BOB’s Chairman said, “We are pleased to have IFC on board, and look forward to working with IFC to further enhance the bank’s corporate governance, risk management and strategic planning. This will make the bank more competitive”.  


Since BOB’s establishment, IFC has provided technical assistance to BOB to support the development of commercially based banking operations. IFC’s work in China’s financial sector has evolved from providing technical assistance to becoming a major foreign investor in China’s financial sector. IFC’s equity investment supports ING’s strategic partnership that will contribute directly to improved management.


An investment by IFC in Bank of Beijing would mark its sixth equity investment in China’s banking sector. IFC has equity investments in Bank of Shanghai, Industrial Bank, Minsheng Bank, Nanjing City Commercial Bank and Xi’an City Commercial Bank. IFC’s strategy has evolved from investing on its own to today’s approach of investing alongside foreign strategic partners who can contribute directly to management.


Bank of Beijing

Bank of Beijing was established in 1996 with the approval of the People’s Bank of China. It was previously called the Beijing City Commercial Bank, and was formed by the merger of 90 credit cooperatives in Beijing. Bank of Beijing is presently shifting its emphasis from serving corporate customers into retail banking to drive future growth.


International Finance Corporation

The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.