* Feng left Merrill as China investment banking head
* Now, general manager of $1.46 billion nuclear power fund
* Fund wins cabinet nod and backed by Guangdong government
(Adds Feng's background, details about the fund)
By George Chen
HONG KONG, July 6 Wilson Feng, a former senior
banker for Merrill Lynch, has been picked to run China's newly
established $1.46 billion nuclear investment fund, two sources
briefed on Feng's new job said on Monday.
In April, state-owned Guangdong Nuclear Power Group
announced the establishment of the 10 billion yuan ($1.46
billion) China Nuclear Power and New Energy Industry Investment
Fund -- the first such specialist fund approved by the cabinet.
Feng, former head of China investment banking for Merrill
Lynch, now part of the combined Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
(BAC.N), has been officially appointed as general manager of
the fund, said the sources who declined to be identified due to
the sensitive nature of the matter.
"Feng has long-time experience and expertise in mergers and
acquisitions so he is the ideal person to help the fund to make
deals in China's young nuclear power sector," said one source.
Feng's father-in-law is Wu Bangguo, chairman of the
National People's Congress, according to Chinese media reports.
Wu, a long-time top Chinese politician, is now ranked number
two in the Communist Party formal hierarchy.
Neither Feng nor a representative for the new nuclear power
fund could be immediately reached for comments.
Dozens of top long-time investment bankers, such as former
Goldman Sachs (GS.N) partner Mark McGoldrick, have left the
investment banking industry to join the private equity world in
the aftermath of the global financial crisis. [ID:nHKG174699]
Feng left Merrill Lynch in March 2008 and looked at setting
up his own private equity fund but later agreed to join the
government-backed nuclear fund, said the sources.
During Feng's days at Merrill, he at one time shared his
role with Margaret Ren as co-chairman of China investment
Ren, the daughter-in-law of former Chinese premier Zhao
Zhiyang, quit Merrill Lynch in early May. [ID:nHKG373123]
China is keen to build more nuclear power stations and some
existing nuclear power plants also need capital to expand.
China has around 9.1 gigawatts (GW) of installed nuclear
capacity but it is considering revising its 2020 target to over
80 GW from an original plan of 40 GW to increase clean energy
supplies, state media reported. [ID:nPEK211791]
China's environment is strained by its widespread use of
coal, which accounts for more than 70 percent of energy
Institutional investors, known as limited partners of the
China Nuclear Power and New Energy Industry Investment Fund
include several big Chinese banks such as Bank of China
(601988.SS) (3988.HK) and China Development Bank, Chinese media
Feng is now based in Beijing where the management firm of
the new nuclear fund is headquartered, said the sources.
It took more than a year to win the cabinet's approval to
launch the fund, said the sources.
(Editing by Lincoln Feast)