CHINA / National

Life Insurance interested in bank stake
Updated: 2006-07-03 06:28

BEIJING, July 2 - Top Chinese insurer China Life Insurance Company Ltd. said on Sunday it was seeking a stake in Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country's four biggest banks, which said it looked forward to such a move.

China Life was "willing to conduct capital cooperation with Agricultural Bank of China and establish deep ties in terms of shareholding reforms and market listing", Xinhua news agency quoted the insurer's chairman, Yang Chao, as saying.

Bank President Yang Mingsheng said he held an "optimistic attitude toward Yang Chao's expectations".

"Agricultural Bank offers China Life a chance," Xinhua quoted Yang as saying. Xinhua did not elaborate.

The bank is the weakest of China's big four, heavily burdened by bad debts accumulated by unwise or non-commercial lending, typically to unprofitable government projects or to other customers who were not creditworthy.