The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) on Thursday signed an agreement with Central Huijin Co., an investment arm of the government, for a 130-billion-yuan (US$19 billion) capital injection in preparation for an eventual stock listing.
Xiang Junbo, the state-owned bank's president, said the injection would boost the bank's capital base, improve its financial status and enhance its profitability.
After the injection, Central Huijin and the Ministry of Finance each will have half of the bank's ownership.
Lou Jiwei, head of Central Huijin's board of directors, said the company would help ABC improve its corporate governance to make it a modern commercial bank with global competitiveness.
According to Xiang, ABC's profit grew 35 percent year-on-year to 98 billion yuan in the first three quarters. As of Sept. 30, deposits totaled 5.9 trillion yuan and loans 3.97 trillion yuan, rising by 690 billion yuan and 300 billion yuan, respectively, from a year earlier.
Of the loans, 1.39 trillion yuan went to agriculture-related projects, up 120 billion yuan year-on-year.
Xiang said one of the bank's major tasks after the capital injection would be to develop its rural network and increase agricultural lending.
The State Council, or the Cabinet, approved ABC's shareholding reform plan on Oct. 21.
(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2008)