Bank of China Sells $1.3 Billion Stake in Huaneng Power Firm

  • Lender exits 30 years after it became a founding shareholder
  • Sale price is `slightly lower' than valuation, bank says

Bank of China Ltd. agreed to sell a 20 percent stake in a power company, Huaneng International Power Development Corp., for 8.7 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in its latest move to streamline assets that have more than doubled since 2008.

Pro-Power Investment Ltd., owned by China Huaneng Group, will pay cash for the stake in three installments within a year, the Beijing-based lender said in an exchange filing on Tuesday. Bank of China will use the proceeds for “any new investment” for sustainable growth, it said.

The price is “slightly lower” than the amount in a valuation, the lender said.

Bank of China’s ownership interest in Huaneng International Power Development dates back to 1985 and a push to revamp China’s power industry. The State Council set up the company as a joint venture, with the aim of attracting foreign capital to the industry. The lender’s Hong Kong unit was a founding shareholder.

The assets of the bank, one of China’s big four lenders, have climbed to more than 16 trillion yuan, while its profit growth has tumbled. In another disposal, the bank said Dec. 18 that it had agreed to sell Nanyang Commercial Bank Ltd. for HK$68 billion ($8.8 billion) to China Cinda Asset Management Co.

The bank’s shares fell 1.7 percent in Hong Kong as of 11:42 a.m., compared with a 0.4 decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Huaneng International Power Development owns 33.3 percent of Huaneng Power International Inc., which is listed in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the U.S., the statement said. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of March, Bank of China said.

— With assistance by Jun Luo

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