Leumi, Bank of China sign deal to grant credit to Israeli firms

JERUSALEM, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest bank, said it signed a deal with Bank of China to make it easier for Israeli companies to receive financing for their operations in China.

Under the deal, Israeli companies operating in China will be able to receive up to $200 million in credit in local currency, the yuan, through either a credit line to be established jointly between the two banks or with Bank of China providing the credit that is backed by Leumi.

Foreign companies with operations in China typically have had difficulty in obtaining credit from local banks, which has made it harder for them to penetrate the Chinese market or expand their business, Leumi said on Monday.

Leumi Chairman David Brodet noted that the Chinese market is undergoing major changes, shifting the economy from export-based to one based on local spending.

“This change of direction allows foreign companies, including Israeli companies, to penetrate the Chinese economy and market their goods in it,” Brodet said. “In fact, we ... see more and more Israeli companies seeking to enter the Chinese market.”

Bank of China is one of the four largest banks in China.

Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch