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IFC, ADB Approved for Bond Issue

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have been given approval to issue their first batch of yuan-denominated bonds on the Chinese mainland, making them the first multilateral financial group to do so.


The Ministry of Finance published the information on its official website on Wednesday.


The ministry said the bonds would be called Giant Panda Bonds because according to international practice, a multilateral financial institution typically names local currency-denominated bonds after the national mascot.


However, the ministry said the details including when the bonds will be issued, and how many must first be approved by the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.


"IFC is very grateful for the opportunity to issue bonds in China's domestic capital markets," IFC's Acting Executive Vice-President Assaad Jabre said.


"The IFC bond, when issued, will contribute to our broader strategy of helping China develop stronger and deeper domestic capital markets," Jabre added.


Jabre added that the proceeds of IFC's bond issue would be used to finance private sector projects that IFC had already selected and appraised.


Since 1985, IFC has invested more than US$2 billion in 100 private sector companies in China.


As one of IFC's fastest growing client countries, China is the corporation's ninth largest country in its portfolio. In the 2004 fiscal year, IFC committed US$391 million to 19 projects while annual commitments over the last three years were about US$100 million. It makes China the largest country program in the fiscal year 2004.


ADB said that its bonds would be issued in the interbank market through a syndicate of underwriters managed by BOC International (China) Ltd.


"ADB is privileged to be part of this important initiative. This is a major step forward in the development of China's capital market," Mikio Kashiwagi, ADB's Treasurer, said.


ADB said it would use the proceeds of the bonds to provide its China clients with local currency financing.


ADB has a long-standing tradition of undertaking market-opening transactions in the region's domestic bond markets including Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Malaysia and Thailand.


(China Daily September 29, 2005)



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