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China banking giant ICBC chairman retires amid weak profits

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The head of the world's biggest bank by assets, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), is retiring, according to a statement, amid flat profit growth for the massive lender.

[SHANGHAI] The head of the world's biggest bank by assets, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), is retiring, according to a statement, amid flat profit growth for the massive lender.

Jiang Jianqing, 63, is leaving his post as chairman and will be replaced by current president and vice chairman Yi Huiman, ICBC said late Tuesday in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange, where it is listed.

Mr Jiang, a 30-year veteran of the bank, has been chairman since before it listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 2006.

ICBC has been facing mounting bad loans and shrinking profits as the growth of the world's second largest economy sputters.

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The bank's first-quarter net profits rose just 0.59 per cent year-on-year to 74.76 billion yuan (S$15.66 billion). Its non-performing loan ratio rose to 1.66 per cent at the end of March, up from 1.50 per cent at the end of last year.

Business magazine Caixin reported that Mr Jiang will head a newly created company which aims to raise funds for infrastructure projects in Europe.

ICBC also announced on Tuesday it will invest 1 billion euros (S$1.53 billion) to set up Sino-CEE Financial Holding Corp, in order to raise funds from Central and Eastern European governments for infrastructure works, according to a separate statement.

ICBC stock was down 0.23 per cent in Shanghai but up 0.24 per cent in Hong Kong around midday on Wednesday.

AFP

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