(Adds comment from BoCom economist, no comment from
BEIJING, July 25 China's Bank of Communications
Co Ltd (BoCom) plans to sell stakes to
private investors under a government reform aimed at letting
private capital play a bigger role in the economy, two people
familiar with the matter said.
The country's fifth-biggest bank by assets has applied to
become the first state-controlled lender to pilot so-called
hybrid ownership, the people told Reuters on Friday.
The application comes just over a week after the government
named six state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that it wanted to
revamp operations to attract investment.
The government in November ordered SOEs to bring in private
investors to improve efficiency and competitiveness and help
reduce debt, with the ultimate aim of supporting the economy.
"BoCom has submitted an application for a pilot scheme and
is awaiting approval from relevant government departments," said
one of the people, who declined to be identified.
BoCom is a joint-stock bank whose biggest shareholder is the
Ministry of Finance with 27 percent, followed by HSBC Holdings
PLC with 19 percent.
Spokespeople at the bank were not immediately available for
BoCom chief economist Lian Ping told Reuters: "For state
banks, pushing forward mixed ownership reform helps improve
corporate governance after they've achieved join-stock systems
and stock listings."
(Reporting by China economics team; Editing by Christopher