CCB invests $100m in VTB Bank's new shares on offer

Updated: 2013-05-24 07:26

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai (China Daily)

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China Construction Bank Corp, the world's second-largest lender by market value, said on Thursday that it invested $100 million in Russian lender JSC VTB Bank's new shares on offer.

The Chinese bank's investment is a further step to expand its business in Russia after it set up a subsidiary in Moscow in March.

It's also the second overseas expansion move in May for the Beijing-headquartered lender. On May 13, the bank said it had set up a subsidiary in Dubai, its first project in the Middle East.

The growing number of Chinese lenders seeking to expand in the overseas markets shows that they are attach increasing importance to competing in the global market and serving the demands of the increasingly active trade between China and the rest of the world, analysts said.

"Most of the domestic banking sector players' expansion moves in overseas markets are to serve trade needs, including settlements for Chinese companies," said Robert Lok, an analyst with the Shanghai-based Fulun Consultancy.

VTB Bank is Russia's second-largest lender. By the end of 2012, its total assets were worth around $244 billion.

The bank's capital increase, which was announced in April, raised a total of $3.3 billion, with cornerstone investors taking more than half of the shares on offer.

"Russia, which is one of the BRICS nations and an important emerging market with fast economic growth, is also one of CCB's key overseas markets," a CCB statement said.

A recent Barclays Capital report said that as Chinese companies are boosting their overseas expansion, many Chinese banks are becoming increasingly interested in global diversification deals by buying stakes in banks with emerging markets operations.

In 2008, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China bought 80 percent of Macao's Seng Heng Bank and a 20 percent stake in South Africa's Standard Bank. The bank also made investments in Indonesian and Thai banks in 2007 and 2010.

Banks are also trying to expand their presence in offshore markets to meet the demands of Chinese corporations and individuals. For instance, China Merchants Bank bought the Hong Kong-based Wing Lung Bank in 2008 to expand its business in the city.