China Construction Bank looks to Europe for deals -FT

LONDON Sun Nov 3, 2013 9:49am EST

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LONDON Nov 3 (Reuters) - China Construction Bank (CCB) , China's No. 2 lender, is looking for acquisition opportunities in Europe but first needs to see regulators open their doors, its chairman told the Financial Times.

CCB Chairman Wang Hongzhang told the FT in an interview published on the paper's website on Sunday that "CCB values the European market a lot."

"If we can find suitable targets and the price is suitable and we get the regulators' support, I think CCB will catch and seize the chance for mergers and acquisitions."

Wang said no deal was imminent but he had met regulators in Germany and the UK last week for informal talks about whether the bank would be welcome in the two countries.

He said he wanted to expand operations to more European countries but added: "Whether we can establish more institutions in Europe depends on European countries' regulators, their attitudes towards CCB and whether CCB is welcomed by them or not."

On Friday CCB said it would buy a 72 percent stake in Brazil's Banco Industrial e Comercial SA for 1.6 billion reals ($719.6 million).

The FT said that it spoke to Wang before the Brazil deal was announced.

Last month Britain announced easier visa regulations for Chinese visitors and plans to let Chinese banks set up wholesale banking branches in London, easing regulations imposed after the financial crisis.

Wang told the Financial Times that CCB plans to apply for a branch licence in London.

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