China's BoCom says mulling stock incentives for management

SHANGHAI Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:21am EDT

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SHANGHAI Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's state-owned Bank of Communications Co Ltd , the country's fifth-largest listed lender, said it is mulling stock incentives for its management as part of a plan to sell stakes to private investors.

Vice President Qian Wenhui told a news conference on Thursday that the bank, known as BoCom, is mulling mixed ownership reforms, which may include stock incentive plans, but added that discussion on any specific details would be premature. The move, if implemented, would be a first for a listed Chinese bank.

Qian was speaking after BoCom reported first-half profit was up 5.6 percent, meeting estimates.

Last month, sources told Reuters that BoCom plans to sell stakes to private investors under government reforms aimed at allowing private capital play a larger role in the economy.

The move comes as Xi Jinping, China's president, looks to curb unreasonably high salaries for executives at major state-owned enterprises (SOEs), according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Chinese state firms - which control crucial sectors of the economy - are often lambasted for being inefficient and not handing over profits to the nation despite enjoying generous subsidies from the state.

The South China Morning Post daily paper reported on Thursday that senior executives of SOEs face pay cuts of up to 50 percent under a reform plan approved by Xi, citing unidentified sources.

In November, the government instructed SOEs to bring in private investors to ramp up efficiency and competitiveness and lower debt. (Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Kenneth Maxwell)

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