One of the country's five state-owned managers of bad debt, China Orient Asset Management, plans to sell a US$1.35-billion package of non-performing loans (NPLs) in one of the biggest such auctions this year, the South China Morning Post reported. The package includes debt from 647 firms. The company, backed by the Ministry of Finance, acquired the NPLs last year and agreed to sell them by the end of this year. It is the first time the company's Haikou branch has organized an auction of this size. The branch may split the package into smaller ones depending on demand, the newspaper reported, quoting a source close to the deal. Asset management companies are under pressure to sell bad loans they bought so they can pay back money advanced to them by the Ministry of Finance in 2000.