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China Life eyes stakes in commercial banks
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China Life Insurance Co, the nation's largest, may invest in Agricultural Bank of China and China Development Bank, Chairman Yang Chao said yesterday.

The Beijing-based insurer may also invest in domestic energy and infrastructure companies, Yang told reporters at China's annual National People's Congress meeting in Beijing.

"Domestic expansion remains our bread and butter," said Yang. "I support the restructuring and public listing plans of Agricultural Bank and China Development, and I'm very confident about China's commercial banks because they boast great returns and have strong supervisory structures in place."

China Life will determine the size of the stakes it may acquire in accordance with the two banks' restructuring proposals, Yang said. The company currently has no set target for the size of these potential stakes, he said. Future acquisitions may be made either by China's Life parent company or its listed unit, with preference given to the latter, said Yang.

China Life assumes a longer-term horizon of two years when evaluating its stock investments, he added.

(Shanghai Daily March 10, 2008)

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