IE S'pore, China bank ink MOU to finance infrastructure work

IE S'pore, China bank ink MOU to finance infrastructure work

China Construction Bank (CCB) will collaborate with Singapore on infrastructure financing and to encourage more Chinese firms to list here.

CCB signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday with International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, under which it will provide $30 billion worth of financing services to firms in Singapore and China investing in "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure projects.

The bank also signed an MOU with the Singapore Exchange (SGX), agreeing to collaborate to boost Chinese fund-raising activities here.

"SGX and CCB will highlight opportunities for Chinese companies to issue offshore (yuan) bonds, undertake mergers and acquisitions, establish cross-border asset management services and other capital market activities in Singapore," the SGX and CCB said in a statement.

The deal comes amid a drought of local initial public offerings, while Chinese firms seek to venture abroad to raise funds and gain a greater global foothold. There are 120 Chinese companies and 103 yuan bonds listed on the SGX.

Yesterday's agreements were signed at IE Singapore's first of a series of One Belt, One Road roundtables, which aim to facilitate discussions between Singapore and Chinese companies to explore collaboration opportunities.

The first roundtable focused on the themes of infrastructure and infocommunications, and was attended by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's office, and participants from 30 Singaporean and Chinese companies.

Chinese shipping giant Cosco, civil engineering contractor China Railway 11 Bureau Group and state-owned China Telecom outlined their projects in the South-east Asian region to provide companies with a better understanding of the opportunities for collaboration.

The One Belt, One Road initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 aims to spur development along a continental route and a maritime route linking 65 nations on three continents. Singapore sits on the sea route dubbed the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" linking China with South-east Asia.

The bank, which has 176 major projects worth more than US$300 billion (S$406 billion) in countries in the One Belt, One Road network, said it is also exploring setting up a centre in Singapore to provide project financing and professional services for the initiative's infrastructure investment. The centre would be the bank's first outside China, it said.

Mr Lee Ark Boon, chief executive officer of IE Singapore, said that the partnership with CCB was strategic and critical in strengthening financing options for firms.

"As the regional infrastructure hub, Singapore's know-how and networks with China and South-east Asia gives Singapore-based companies a further advantage on One Belt, One Road projects," he added.

This article was first published on April 26, 2016.
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