June 2, 2009 / 2:15 AM / 10 years ago

Chinese banks avoiding investment in western lenders-CCB

LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - Chinese banks are shunning investments in western banks because they have doubts about their financial health, the chairman of China Construction Bank (CCB) (0939.HK), the world’s second biggest bank, told the Financial Times.

Guo Shuqing said Chinese banks were also being put off by a lack of growth potential in developed markets.

“It’s very difficult at the moment because there are still so many uncertainties,” Guo told the newspaper in an interview.

“We are not very interested on expanding our business in developed countries because the market is limited and growth potential is not there because of overbanking,” he said.

The FT said CCB had been interested in investing in Standard Chartered (STAN.L), according to people familiar with the situation, but said Guo denied the bank would now consider such a move.

He also told the newspaper that Bank of America (BAC.N) had assured him that it wanted to remain CCB’s second-largest shareholder, after the Chinese government.

Battered western banks, BofA, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and UBS (UBS.N)UBSN.VX have sold stakes in big Chinese banks in recent months in order to raise capital.

Last week Shaolin Xiao, head of China Construction Bank (London), told Reuters in an interview the bank planned to ramp up its international presence. [ID:nLT1016311] (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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