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China Forex Regulator Is Examining Top Dealmakers, Sources Say

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China’s foreign-exchange regulator is examining how some of the country’s biggest dealmakers used their domestic assets as collateral to get loans overseas, people familiar with the matter said.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange recently began reviewing loan guarantees for Anbang Insurance Group Co., Dalian Wanda Group Co., Fosun International Ltd., HNA Group Co. and the Chinese owner of the AC Milan soccer team, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. The regulator’s examination doesn’t mean the companies have done anything wrong, the people said.

Wanda declined to comment. Representatives at Anbang, HNA and the regulator didn’t immediately respond to queries from Bloomberg. Fosun said all its procedures have been legal. Representatives for the AC Milan owner couldn’t immediately be reached.

The review, which began after a separate examination by the nation’s banking regulator, steps up the government’s scrutiny of the five companies as China seeks to clamp down on capital outflows and debt. The once-prolific acquirers are facing mounting pressure at home and abroad, with HNA recently scrapping the purchase of an in-flight entertainment provider and Wanda agreeing to sell most of its theme-park and hotel assets.

SAFE is specifically looking for potential improprieties involving so-called "overseas loan under domestic guarantee," a type of financing where borrowers pledge collateral in China to receive bank guarantees or letters of credit, which are then used to take out loans from the overseas branches of Chinese banks, according to the people.

The proportion of Fosun’s investments abroad that involve “overseas loan under domestic guarantee” is very limited, the group said.

Among things the regulator will look for include whether the companies falsified information or inflated the value of their assets to receive guarantees, the people said.

— With assistance by Steven Yang, Jun Luo, Jing Yang De Morel, Dong Lyu, Daniele Lepido, and Dingmin Zhang

(Updates with comment from Fosun in penultimate paragraph.)
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