Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the fourth largest bank in China, is undertaking mammoth reform so as to meet listing requirements.
Currently, almost 800 million of China's population are farmers. The ABC was originally created to serve Chinese farmers, agriculture and rural areas. Its non-performing assets-740 billion yuan by the end of 2005-remain a hindrance.
"The nature of the bank decides it will be more arduous and tougher to reform the ABC in line with a qualified listed company," said Han Zhongqi, ABC Vice President.
Han said the bank will introduce domestic or overseas strategic investors, adding it is still early to talk about details. Han said the Central Government hasn't decided where the bank should be listed.
China Securities Journal cited unnamed sources as saying the Central Huijin Investment Co., a state-owned investment institution, would inject $25-30 billion into the bank. The other three big state-owned banks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China, had all benefited substantially by the Central Huijin Investment.
The bank has more than 24,900 branches in China with over 450,000 employees, making it the largest of all the Big Four banks.