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Saturday  March 3  2001

Great Wall offloads bad holdings online
Reuters in Beijing

Great Wall Asset Management has teamed up with to sell some of its bad assets on the Internet, according to officials at the debt recovery agency.

'We signed an agreement on Tuesday. We will use their e-commerce platform to sell some of our non-performing assets,' a Great Wall spokesman said yesterday.

'We are accelerating the process of resolving the assets and e-commerce could be an effective way,' he said.

Great Wall would post 2,000 to 3,000 assets on in the next 18 months to give foreign investors the chance to buy or invest, company officials said.

They said the assets would be in a wide range of sectors, including property, electronics and agriculture.

'I still cannot give a value of the assets because we are still in the process of selecting them,' the spokesman said.

Great Wall would pay commission to the e-commerce company on completed sales, company officials said. Officials at said a first batch of about 100 assets could be posted by May. would enable investors to get information on the selected assets and gradually introduce an auction function allowing investors to bid online, the spokesman said.

Beijing set up debt-clearing firms Great Wall, Huarong, Dongfang and Cinda in 1999 to take over and resolve bad assets of the 'big four' state banks through collection, restructuring, transfer, sale and securitisation.

Great Wall has taken over 345.8 billion yuan (about HK$324 billion) in non-performing assets from the Agricultural Bank of China, the newspaper said.

China Huarong Asset Management signed an agreement with accountancy firm Ernst & Young last month to help it market almost US$3 billion in non-performing assets to foreign investors in a roadshow in May or June.

Foreign analysts said most debt taken over by China's four asset management firms would have to be written off, although some Chinese academics estimated 30 to 40 per cent was recoverable.

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