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China Great Wall restructures to become joint-stock firm

China Great Wall Asset Management Corp. on Dec. 11 transitioned into a restructured joint-stock firm, paving the way for the asset manager to list, Reuters reported Dec. 12.

The move will enable China Great Wall to sell stakes to new shareholders, as well as list itself on a domestic or offshore stock market in as early as the first half of 2017. An IPO would expand the asset manager's capital base and enable it to play a larger role in tackling China's mounting bad debt.

The company, which was previously wholly owned by China's Finance Ministry, is one of China's big four state-owned bad debt managers. Under China Great Wall's new joint-stock structure, the Finance Ministry owns a 97% stake in the company, while the National Council for Social Security Fund holds a 2% stake and China Life Insurance (Group) Co. holds a 1% stake.

The newly established shareholding company has a registered capital of 43.15 billion yuan.

The National Council for Social Security Fund intends to raise its stake in China Great Wall ahead of the asset manager's planned IPO, said Xiao Shijun, head of the fund's equity asset department.

Mounting debt in China has emerged as an economic challenge, with the country's total debt load rising to 255% of GDP in the quarter ended March 31 from 147% in 2008, the news outlet reported, citing data from Moody's.

As of Dec. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 6.90 Chinese yuan.