March 21, 2012 / 12:55 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-China fund targets nickel in resource deals

* Eyes iron ore, coking coal, uranium, copper

* CDB International looks for assets with China links (Adds executive comments)

HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - China Development Bank’s investment arm is targeting copper, uranium, iron ore, coking coal as well as nickel resources overseas, looking for investments with good returns and Chinese connections, a China Development Bank International executive said on Wednesday.

Chinese firms have been snapping up copper, uranium, iron ore and coking coal assets around the world, but have yet to make a big splash in nickel.

In China’s latest deal, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) and the China-Africa Development Fund are about to take over Kalahari Minerals and Extract Resources in which it holds a 42.7 percent stake for $2.3 billion together, gaining control of the Husab uranium project in Namibia, which could become the world’s second-largest uranium mine.

“I think we do have a small group of targeted commodity products which are pretty much beneficial to Chinese clients...for example copper...and also uranium,” China Development Bank International executive director Lei Mu said at a mining conference in Hong Kong.

“China is right now one of the very few countries in the world that is still keen on developing nuclear power plants after the Fukushima crisis,” he said.

He added that China Development Bank International is interested in buying iron ore and coking coal assets and is also targeting nickel.

“Everyone’s talking about iron ore, and we are kind of keen on iron ore as well. Coking coal’s definitely one of the things we’re looking at.”

“Because we are the largest shareholder in one of Asia’s largest nickel companies, we have been very actively seeking similar assets for this company for our future investment,” he said.

China Development Bank International, backed by more than $1 trillion in lending capacity from CDB, looks for assets or businesses that have Chinese ties, either directly through a Chinese company or through supplying into China.

“We look at the future value upside of the asset and we pay a lot of attention to the quality of the team, and we also look at the potential country risk and the political risk of the regions where the assets are located,” Mu said.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jason Neely

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