Tue, Nov 14, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Cooperative, BNP to ink pact

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

State-controlled Taiwan Coopera-tive Bank (合作金庫銀行), the nation's second-largest lender, announced yesterday that it would ink a preliminary pact for partnership with BNP Paribas, France's largest bank.

"The preliminary memorandum of understanding (MOU) will provide a base for the two parties to form joint ventures in insurance, securities and investment trust business in the future," Taiwan Cooperative spokesman Chen An-hsiung (陳安雄) said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The preparatory agreement would be signed by the end of this year before the formal, legally binding MOU on strategic cooperation to be inked next year, Chen said.

Taiwan Cooperative hopes to leverage the French bank's know-how and international experience to sharpen its marketing and management and eventually its international competitiveness, it said in a statement released yesterday.

Chen declined to comment on whether the pact would allow BNP Paribas to invest in the bank. It has been long rumored that Taiwan Cooperative may sell an 8 percent to 10 percent stake to the French bank through a private placement.

Taiwan Cooperative chairman Sean Chen (陳沖) said in an interview with the Taipei Times last week that the bank was open to the possibility of collaborating with foreign counterparts other than BNP Paribas.

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