CIC's purchase of Citigroup's shares 'a conjecture'

Updated: 2008-01-15 23:27

China Investment Corp. (CIC), the country's state-owned foreign exchange investment firm, has no plans to buy a stake in the US-based Citigroup, insiders with the firm said.

"Reports about CIC's possible purchase of Citigroup shares are just a conjecture," Tuesday's China Securities Journal quoted the insiders as saying. "Many have come to CIC hoping to get our investment."

Experts suggested CIC select its investment targets cautiously, especially since US financial institutions have been hit hard by the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Tan Yalin, a researcher with the global financial market department under the Bank of China, said domestic investors must remain alert to the US financial market and US-dollar assets as foreign investors do.

Some experts, however, considered it a good opportunity for CIC to invest at reasonable prices in overseas markets as international finance institutions, affected by the sub-prime crisis, were in dire need of capital to fill up their fund gaps and to expand business.

CIC planned to invest US$70 billion in overseas markets, and there was still about US$60 billion left to use.

In December, CIC reached an agreement with Morgan Stanley to purchase US$5 billion in equity units convertible into common shares of the second largest US investment bank.

It also invested US$3 billion in the US private equity firm Blackstone Group, as well as US$100 million into the initial public offering of the China Railway Group in Hong Kong.

CIC was set up in September with initial capital of US$200 billion from the country's massive foreign exchange reserve.

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