China state firms complete 48 'mixed ownership' reforms this year: paper

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has completed 48 deals allowing private capital to invest in government-run enterprises by June 20, part of a “mixed ownership” reform program aimed at rejuvenating the state sector, the official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday.

The deals were worth a total of 11.04 billion yuan ($1.62 billion), up ninefold compared to the same period of last year, the report said, citing data from the Beijing Equity Exchange.

China’s mixed ownership reforms are part of ambitious plans to revive the country’s bloated and debt-ridden state-owned sector and create “bigger and stronger” conglomerates capable of competing on the global stage.

The central government issued guidelines in 2015 aimed at boosting the performance of its SOEs, saying it would close down the most uncompetitive firms and modernize the ownership structure of those that remained.

China would accelerate mixed-ownership reforms in the third quarter of the year, the paper said. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced that SOEs must open their reform plans to public consultation in May and June this year.

Senior government officials told a meeting at the end of last year that they would take substantial steps in mixed-ownership reform in electricity, oil, natural gas, railway, civil aviation, telecommunications and military industries this year.

However, the head of the state-owned asset regulator said last week that SOEs should avoid “erroneous” notions like “privatization” and “denationalization”, saying that the role of the Communist Party in state-run firms needed to be strengthened.

Reporting by David Stanway and Jing Wang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong