BOC Hong Kong to sell unit for $8.8 billion in city's biggest deal

SHANGHAI: Lender BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd plans to sell subsidiary Nanyang Commercial Bank (NCB) for HK$68 billion ($8.8 billion) in the city's largest sale to date.

BOC Hong Kong is a unit of Bank of China Ltd, the fourth-biggest lender by assets in the mainland, and the sale of NCB will help streamline the group's operations by eliminating competition with BOC on the mainland.

In a statement posted on the Beijing Financial Assets Exchange on Wednesday, BOC HK said it will sell 100 percent of its stake in NCB and bids will be accepted until Aug. 25.

Shortlisted bidders may include New China Life Insurance Co, unlisted Yue Xiu Group, which last year bought Hong Kong lender Chong Hing Bank and China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co Ltd, sources told Reuters in May.

Another potential buyer is China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd, the nation's No. 2 bad debt manager that listed in Hong Kong in December 2013.

China Cinda has been keen to acquire a bank to tap cheap sources of funds to buy soured loans, a source said in January.

Hong Kong's current deal record was set by Singaporean bank DBS's purchase of Dao Heng Bank for $5.4 billion in 2001.

NCB made net profit of HK$2.8 billion in 2014, the statement said.

Reuters first reported BOC HK's plans to sell NCB at the end of January.