China Minsheng Banking Corp, the country's third largest publicly traded lender, announced 2002 profits 45 per cent higher than in 2001. Revenue rose by 41 per cent over the period to Yn7.2bn, while deposits increased by 74 per cent and lending by 90 per cent. However, the bank's profit margin fell to 16.9 per cent as a result of cuts in interest rates. Minsheng also reported an increase in bad loans, which grew from 2.04 per cent of total loans at the end of 2001 to 2.8 per cent at the end of 2002. However, it said this was within its target ceiling of 3 per cent.
The bank said that it had received preliminary approval from the regulators to raise up to Yn4bn for expansion by selling convertible bonds. It is also looking for foreign strategic investors. In January the International Finance Corp, the investment arm of the World Bank, said it would buy a stake in the bank for about US$25m.