Chinese bank mulls bid for German state lender: report

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A Chinese bank is among the potential bidders for struggling state-owned German regional lender WestLB, business daily Handelsblatt said Tuesday, citing industry sources.

"Among those interested in making offers, there are financial investors and also a few credit institutions, including a Chinese bank," the paper cited its sources as saying.

Contacted by AFP, a WestLB spokesman was unable to confirm the report but noted that the bank could present an attractive proposition for the Chinese, given its involvement in financing raw materials in Russia and Asia.

The European Commission has ordered WestLB, slammed by the financial crisis, to find new owners as a condition for approving a massive bailout of the bank.

Fellow regional German bank BayernLB said last month it would abandon a merger with WestLB because the deal would not lead to higher profits.

And European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said the possibility of breaking up the bank is "increasing."

Another German regional bank, HSH Nordbank, ordered by the Commission to change ownership by 2014, has already agreed a loan deal with the China Development Bank and is mulling closer ties.

© 2010 AFP

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