Funds News

China Minsheng Investment eyes Southeast Asia with $1.5 billion

BEIJING, Jan 30 (Reuters) - State-backed China Minsheng Investment Co Ltd (CMI) plans to open a unit in Singapore with capital of $1.5 billion, and offices in London and North America with a similar sum, in line with a government push for companies to do more business abroad.

CMI holds registered capital of 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) and received State Council approval in April to invest private enterprise funds. Its advisers include former European prime ministers, Asian tycoons and a Nobel laureate.

“The Singapore investment is a platform to eventually enter Southeast Asia,” said Dong Wenbiao, the firm’s chairman, on the sidelines of an event in Beijing on Friday.

Dong is the former chairman of China Minsheng Banking Corp and many CMI executives used to work at the lender. The two institutions, however, maintain no formal relationship.

On Friday, CMI convened at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing the first meeting of its international advisory committee, a panel of senior politicians, business executives and academics, assembled to advise the firm’s management on its globalization strategy.

The panel is made up of 20 members and includes former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, Charoen Pokphand Group Co Chairman Dhanin Chearavanont, and Nobel economics laureate Robert Engle.

“China’s capital, whether state or private, is now shaking up the real economy,” said David Li Daokui, Director of the Center for China in the World Economy at Tsinghua Unviersity and a CMI adviser. “CMI is meant to be a capital holding company, rather than specifically manage (investments). This is a new trend.”

CMI’s shareholders are 59 large Chinese private enterprises, and include business park operator Yida Group Co, financial conglomerate China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co Ltd, retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, and the investment arm of Giant Interactive Group.

CMI has set-up units to invest in new and sustainable energy projects, focusing on photovoltaic power generation, as well as real estate and business jet services.

Dong said the company will look for long-term financing for its investments, including the issuance of overseas bonds. ($1 = 6.2487 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Matthew Miller and Beijing Newsroom)