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China's Agricultural Bank in talks for more debt-to-equity deals
[BEIJING] Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank), the country's third-biggest listed lender by assets, is in discussions to undertake more than 20 debt-to-equity deals, after signing agreements with eight companies.
The eight deals were valued at about 70 billion yuan (S$14.166 billion), AgBank President Zhao Huan said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The bank earlier said it had prepared for the establishment of a specialised institution for debt-to-equity swaps.
AgBank on Tuesday reported an 8.7 per cent on-year profit growth for the fourth quarter ended December, boosted by higher fee and commission income.
But net interest margin dropped to 2.25 per cent at end-December, compared with 2.31 per cent at end-June, the eighth straight quarter in which margins have been squeezed.
The bank's non-performing loan ratio (NPL), a key indicator for credit quality, eased to 2.37 per cent at end-December, from 2.39 per cent at end-September.
Kang Yi, the bank's vice president, said the lender was seeing a "turning point" on its loans business, with the pricing of loans rebounding.