RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, China

IFC seeks new investor in Bank of Shanghai

IFC already sold its 7% stake in the lender while HSBC plans to divest its 8% stake.

International Finance Corp (IFC), a unit of the World Bank, said on Thursday that it has fulfilled its role as a long-term investor in Bank of Shanghai and is looking for a new partner to help growth in the Chinese lender.

"IFC is very pleased with our partnership with BOS over a decade. We believe that our role as a long-term investor has now been fulfilled successfully and together with BOS we are looking for a new partner who can add most value to BOS's future development," IFC said in an emailed response to Reuters query.

Chinese newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reported earlier on Thursday that IFC had already sold its 7 percent stake in Bank of Shanghai to China Investment Corp, the country's sovereign wealth fund, while HSBC also plans to dispose of its 8 percent stake in the Shanghai-based lender.

The news of foreign investors' planned exit comes as Bank of Shanghai has been actively preparing for an initial public offering. The bank has submitted its listing application to the banking regulator and is targeting an IPO in 2011, the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Feb 11.

IFC became Bank of Shanghai's shareholder in 1999 after making its first investment in China's banking sector, and has been helping the lender improve its corporate governance, loan quality and risk management. HSBC invested in Bank of Shanghai in 2001, and is also a shareholder in China's fifth-biggest lender Bank of Communications.

View the full story in Reuters.

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