Temasek sells stakes in Chinese banks to raise $2.5 bn

Singapore's state-run investment company Temasek Holdings Pte said today that it has raised about $2.5 billion by selling part of its stakes in Bank of China and China Construction Bank.

Temasek said in a statement that ''the rebalancing move is partly to prepare for other opportunities that may arise in China and elsewhere''.

It added that it still has about $18 billion invested in Chinese banks after the stake sale.

Tamesk clarified that the stake sale was for strategic reasons and it was still keen on its China operations. The company bought a $2.3 billion stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China from Goldman Sachs last month.

Temasek is one of the city-state's two sovereign wealth funds. Last year its assets rose to a record $S193 billion ($155 billion).

Temasek has received about $1.24 billion selling 3.1 billion Bank of China shares at HK$3.13 apiece, and a similar amount divesting 1.6 billion shares in China Construction Bank at HK$5.99 each.

Temasek had been increasing holdings in China Construction Bank and Bank of China as global lenders divest. It bought 3.77 billion shares of China Construction Bank from Bank of America Corp on 11 November last year, increasing its stake in the second-largest Chinese lender by value, and raised its investment in Bank of China to 7.07 per cent from 6.96 per cent in August.