A consortium of 12 banks led by the Zhaoqing branch of China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the country's big four State-owned lenders, recently agreed to loan aluminum processor AsiaAlum Group 6.5 billion yuan, the largest ever from a Chinese bank to a private sector company.
The contribution of 1.45 billion yuan from CCB's Zhaoqing branch also marks the biggest loan the bank has granted to a non-State enterprise.
"The move will be mutually beneficial for both AsiaAlum Group and the 12 banks involved," Xiao Lieming, president of CCB's Zhaoqing branch, told China Daily in a recent interview.
"It will enable us to forge a more in-depth, extensive and solid relationship with such a growing company while bringing both social and economic benefits to us."
"If it had not been for the help of the banks, AsiaAlum Group would not have been able to weather the global economic recession of the past two years," noted Zhong Dongping, a member of the company's board
The loan will offer enough financial support for the firm's business operations in the coming five to 10 years, Zhong said.
The massive loan follows the bank's framework agreement with the Zhaoqing chamber of commerce signed last July to provide 2 billion yuan in loans to member firms over the next five years.
"Private-sector business was particularly difficult in 2008 and 2009 when the financial tsunami raged worldwide," he said. "A timely loan could have helped them survive the economic storm and take a turn for the better."
He said that the bank will prioritize its credit support in favor of businesses involved in new energy, new materials, energy-efficiency and environmental protection, biomedicine, information technology and high-value manufacturing, as well as other low-carbon industries.
Xiao said CCB's Zhaoqing branch has now set up a department exclusively for small and medium sized enterprises, improved its risk management system and simplified business procedures.
The bank's Zhaoqing branch posted a deposit balance of 14.89 billion yuan by the end of March, 849 million yuan more than at the end of 2009.
Its loan balance was 10.25 billion yuan at the end of the third month, an increase of 717 million yuan since the year began, official statistics indicate.
The bank reported profits of 95.55 million yuan in the first quarter, an increase of 111 percent from a year ago.
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