Bank of China desperately searching for strategic investors

Speculation swirls around Citibank and JPMorgan; Could CNOOC and Sinopec ride to the rescue?

Bankers believe Bank of China is coming under severe pressure to find acceptable investors ahead of its international IPO in 1H05 now that international heavyweight HSBC has tied the knot with Bank of Communications and UBS and Deutsche have reportedly quietly pulled out of discussions.

UBS and Deutsche have declined to confirm or deny that they have lost interest in taking a stake, as stated in a mainland news report. The report added JPMorgan, Citibank, Sinopec, Petrochina and two privately-owned companies were on the shortlist of strategic investors.

Hong Kong observers are sceptical about the US banks, however.

Citibank in particular may...

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