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ICBC Wins Nod on 25b Yuan Bonds Issue
May 21,2010 08:51CST
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SHENZHEN, May 21 -- The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), whose new lending has slowed by two-thirds this year, has confirmed it will issue only A-share convertible bonds.

The world's largest lender by market value won shareholder approval Tuesday to sell convertible bond to raise as much as 25 billion yuan ($3. billion) to boost capital.

However, it has not yet decided on the format of its fundraising plan for Hong Kong-traded shares, chairman Jiang Jianqing said after the bank's annual meeting in the Hong Kong.

The bank has "a general mandate" from investors to sell new shares in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, ICBC supervisor Wang Chixi said in Beijing. But Jiang said that this was "not the right moment due to recent poor market conditions."

The bank was not in a hurry to raise funds as its capital adequacy ratio is higher than its peers, Jiang added.

No timetable has been set for the bond issue yet, he said. But he stressed that after boosting its capital ICBC will not be looking to raise more funds in the next three years.

The Beijing-based banking giant revealed that loan growth slowed significantly — to 5.8 percent so far this year compared with 16.2 percent jump for all of 2009 — as the central government tightened liquidity.

China is targeting a 22 percent reduction in new lending nationwide this year to 7.5 trillion yuan.

ICBC's net interest margin increased this year and will continue to rise on the back of the recovering economy, the chairman said.

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