December 18, 2019 / 9:32 AM / a month ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-China's Hengfeng Bank issues 100 bln shares to state, foreign investors

(Corrects to say that other investors are among the buyers of 4 bln shares sold in paragraph 2)

BEIJING, Dec 18 (Reuters) - China’s Hengfeng Bank said in a Wednesday statement that it would issue 100 billion shares through a private placement to three state and foreign investors, in the wake of a state-led rescue to fend off risks at the country’s smaller lenders.

Central Huijin Investment Ltd, an investment arm of country’s sovereign investment fund, China Investment Corp (CIC), will purchase 60 billion shares in the sale, the local government-backed financial asset management firm will purchase 36 billion shares, while the remaining 4 billion shares will be issued to Singapore’s United Overseas Bank and other investors, the statement said.

The lender did not provide financial details.

The Shandong-based national bank has not released its annual report since 2017 due to management and liquidity issues.

Central Huijin, Shandong Financial Asset Management Co and UOB did not respond to a request for comment.

Before the share sale announcement, UOB told Reuters in June that it retained a 13% ownership in the Shandong lender.

The seizure by the government of Baoshang Bank earlier this year and the state rescue of Bank of Jinzhou sharpened concerns about the health of hundreds of small lenders as China’s economic growth slows to near 30-year lows.

The central bank said that liquidity at Hengfeng is ample and the bank is operating normally.

It added that Chinese authorities will continue to guide Hengfeng to improve its internal compliance and risk management. (Reporting by Cheng Leng,Huizhong Wu and Beijing Monitoring Desk, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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