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Citi sells stake in Chinese bank

Citigroup is selling its strategic stake in unlisted China Guangfa Bank to China Life Insurance Co for 19.68 billion yuan – approximately $3 billion. The sale is being seen as the latest big sell off by an American bank in Chinese bank holdings. China Life Insurance Co is China’s biggest life-insurance company by premiums. Citi will make a profit out of the sale. It had bought the stake after a bitterly fought takeover battle with Societe Generale. The Chinese government had earlier told foreign banks that they would be able to have majority control over Guangfa Bank  over time but then went back on its word and applied a 20% cap on ownership by a single foreign owner. Citi has its own network in China covering 13 cities.

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