UPDATE 1-Taiwan's Fubon says to buy China bank stake for $1 bln

Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:43am EST

* Fubon to acquire 80 pct stake in Firstsino Bank

* Deal subject to regulatory approval

* JPMorgan Chase Bank advises this acquisition

By Faith Hung and Emily Chan

TAIPEI, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Fubon Financial, one of the most aggressive Taiwanese financial firms expanding into the Chinese market, said on Thursday it will buy an 80 percent stake in China's Firstsino Bank for 6.45 billion yuan ($1.03 billion).

The acquisition would be another sign that banking links across the Taiwan Straits are strengthening. Taiwan's financial companies are keen to tap the huge mainland market as trade ties between the former political foes boom, helping them move beyond a saturated domestic market.

"It will help us build a complete platform in Greater China, paving the way to enter the fast-growing areas in China," Fubon said in a statement, adding that the purchase is subject to regulatory approvals from both sides.

Fubon will buy the stake from Taiwan's Pou Chen Group, which makes shoes for Nike Inc, and Wing Hang Bank, it said. Fubon will also invest in a rights issue to be placed by Firstsino.

The remaining stake is owned by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, whose stake will be diluted to 20 percent from the current 30 percent after the rights issue.

JPMorgan Chase Bank is financial advisor on the deal.

Firstsino was set up in 1997 to help Taiwanese companies operating in China attract funding, which remains its main business.

The deal would give Fubon 13 branches in big cities across China to add to the 31 it has in southeastern Fujian province via its stake in Xiamen Bank.

Shares in Fubon ended up 0.3 percent on Thursday ahead of the press release, slightly beating the broader market's 0.2 percent gain.

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