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China Construction Bank eyes Bank of America (Asia): report
HONG KONG, Aug 9 (AFP) Aug 09, 2006
China Construction Bank (CCB), the country's third largest commercial bank, is interested in buying Bank of America (Asia), after failing to buy out Asia Commercial Bank in February, a report said Wednesday.

Citing unnamed market sources, The Standard reported that CCB is reviewing the financials of Bank of America (Asia), an affiliate of the US-based bank, and an offer has yet to be made.

CCB spokesman Hu Changmiao dismissed the report, saying he had never heard of the acquisition plan, while BoA spokeswoman Wendy Tan said it was not the bank's policy to comment on market speculation.

However, a market source said the two parties were interested in and exploring the potential for such a deal.

"A detailed plan is still under negotiation between CCB's newly established investment banking department and Bank of America," the source said.

Bank of America, the parent company, is a strategic investor in CCB, with a nine percent stake.

CCB said in February that, although it had failed to acquire Asia Commercial Bank, it was still interested in finding another target in Hong Kong, the Standard newspaper said.

Early this year, CCB was linked to a possible buyout of 20 percent of New York brokerage and investment house Bear Stearns.

That story was repeatedly denied by CCB president Guo Shuqing, but he acknowledged that the lender had begun researching the possibility of acquisitions.

In April, he said overseas expansion would be an important development strategy for the bank in future, calling for an active but cautious approach to such transactions.

Bank of America (Asia) has 17 branches in Hong Kong and Macau offering a wide range of consumer and commercial banking products and services.

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