Mon, Dec 20, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Ministry to detail selling stake in bank

STAFF WRITER

The Ministry of Finance is expected to detail a proposal of selling its stake in Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) by the end of the month, as part of a package to lure overseas investors, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported yesterday.

Should the proposal receive legislative support, the ministry would help Chang Hwa sell shares to foreign investors through global depositary receipts (GDRs), Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said on Saturday while attending an economic forum in Taipei.

The ministry, which owns a 23.5 percent controlling stake in the bank, said foreign investors would take up a stake of 30 percent or more in the state-run bank.

The report said at least three foreign institutions have expressed interests in acquiring a stake in Chang Hwa, with ING Group NV being the most active bidder.

Officials at ING, which has fund management and insurance joint ventures with Chang Hwa, declined to comment on the matter.

But the biggest Dutch financial services company has been in talks to acquire a stake in Chang Hwa since 2001, strengthening an alliance with Taiwan's sixth-largest bank by assets.

ING plans to buy a 22 percent stake in Chang Hwa before negotiating with the finance ministry for a further 16.9 percent, another Chinese-language paper reported on Saturday, citing the head of ING's greater China division, Patrick Poon (潘燊昌).

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