Might sound dumb to ask given that the Chinese banks that Temasek invests in are some of the largest in the world, and given that China’s economy is growing like the bean stalk in the story Jack and the Bean Stalk. But then Shin, Merrill Lynch and ABC Learning were “no brainers”.
State agency Central Huijin Investments did something strange recently. It has controlling stakes in nearly all of China’s largest banks, including China Construction Bank (6% owned by Temasek), Agricultural Bank of China (StanChart is a cornerstone investor with abt 1% paying US$500m for this privilege) and Bank of China (4% by Temasek) . Temasek owns 18% of StanChart.
Huijin just raised Rmb40bn (US$5.9bn) as part of a Rmb187.5bn fund raisng. The aim of raising the Rmb187.5bn is to recapitalise Chinese banks it controlled.
Sounds prudent given the explosive loan growth rates of the banks brought about by Chinese attempts to stimulate the economy.
But this is the weird bit: the state-controlled banks were estimated to have bought more than 80% of Huijin’s first bond issue, on orders from their shareholder. If this is repeated, this means the Chinese banks are lending money to their controlling shareholder so that the shareholder can buy shares in them. No new cash is invested by the controlling shareholder.
Sounds something that only Wall Street cowboys would dream of doing.
Except that the Wall Street cowboys would be in jail for pulling off this stunt, unless of course, if a Texan is president.