January 29, 2018 / 11:03 AM / a year ago

Fitch sells minority stake in China Lianhe Credit Rating to GIC

BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Fitch Ratings has sold its 49 percent stake in China Lianhe Credit Rating Co to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, the credit ratings agency said on Monday, as it evaluates opportunities created by China’s changing regulatory landscape.

The deal comes more than a year after the Chinese government proposed to fully open its credit rating market to foreign participation by removing ownership restrictions, a decision that was cheered by global ratings agencies.

Fitch did not disclose the value of the deal.

“The changes in the regulatory landscape provide an opportunity for us to consider and evaluate how we can best serve the needs of local and global capital markets going forward,” the ratings agency said in a separate statement to Reuters.

Lianhe, established in 2000, is one of the leading credit ratings agencies in China’s capital market. Fitch acquired its original shareholding in Lianhe in April 2007.

Moody’s Investors Service operates in China as a 49 percent shareholder in China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co, while S&P Global Ratings has a partnership with Shanghai Brilliance Credit Rating & Investors Service Co.

GIC and Lianhe Ratings said in a joint statement that the investment will facilitate the ratings firm’s long-term development and internationalization.

“Lianhe Ratings is confident of the rating industry’s long-term potential as China’s economy and bond market, as well as its share of the global economy, continue to grow,” the statement said.

Fitch said it would continue to operate its international credit ratings business throughout the region, including through its offices in Beijing and Shanghai. (Reporting By Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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