Citigroup Signals It's OK With Minority Stake in China Venture

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. signaled a preference to maintain its minority stake in its China joint venture, taking a different tack than some other global banks that are seizing on the government’s plans to allow majority control.

“We have a great joint venture,” Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Officer Francisco Aristeguieta said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Thursday, when asked about Citigroup’s plans for the operation as China loosens controls over the financial industry. “It’s the most profitable joint venture out there in China and at this point we’re not reconsidering our position.”

The New York-based bank’s 33 percent-owned venture with Orient Securities Co. “has good results and so far that’s good enough for us,” Aristeguieta said in a separate interview in Hong Kong.

Last year, China said it will allow global banks to take controlling stakes in local securities ventures, one of several initiatives to encourage more foreign investment in the financial sector. JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. have applied to take 51 percent stakes following the move.

Aristeguieta said he welcomes China’s reforms and opening of its economy. Citigroup remains “very committed to the Chinese market,” he said.

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