MANILA, October 10, 2005
 (STAR) (AFP) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday announced a 75 million US dollar equity investment in the Bank of China as part of its initiative to help reform Beijing's commercial banking sector.

"The investment offers the checks and balances of a multilateral development bank to (Bank of China's) restructuring process," said William Willms, an ADB investment officer.

"ADB will assist Bank of China in its ongoing efforts to enhance its corporate governance and control systems."

In Beijing, the Shanghai Securities News quoted Bank of China official Zhu Xinqiang as saying the Philippines-based ADB, and several other investors including UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland will hold a combined 24 percent stake in the bank.

ADB views the development of the financial sector in Asia as a critical component of the region's economic development and is committed to supporting its member countries in this endeavor, the lender said in a statement.

The Bank of China investment represents ADB's largest equity transaction from its private sector window in China to date, it added.

"The restructuring of this leading state-owned bank will serve as a model for reforming and restructuring other financial institutions in the (China's) financial sector," said Robert Bestani, director-general of the ADB's private sector operations department.

Established in 1921, Bank of China is one of the country's largest commercial banks and is the premier foreign exchange bank in China, operating more than 11,000 branches in 27 countries around the world.

China is a member of the ADB, which provided 5.3 billion dollars in loans and nearly 200 million dollars in technical assistance to the region last year.

Stocks lower by 0.14 percent as peso strengthens 10/10 12:54:28 PM

Shares closed low Monday due to consolidation, the main index moving down by 2.86 points to 1,949.42. Likewise, the All-Shares market closed lower by 2.29 points 1,181.87.

Most of the subindicators reflected this downward movement except for oil, which was unchanged. Mining was the biggest loser with a loss of 54.38 points.

Trade volume was pegged at 279 million shares worth 663 million pesos. Decliners beat advancers, 45 against 19, with 39 issues unchanged.

At the foreign exchange market, the local currency was trading stronger against the US dollar at 55.766 pesos. The peso closed at 55.805 last week.

Green investments offer promise in Asia: ADB 10/10 1:40:52 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Investments in environmental goods and services hold a huge promise in Asia and the Pacific as governments in the region tighten pollution control laws, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Monday.

The region accounts for just 37 billion US dollars of the 600 billion-US dollar global market for environmental goods and services, but its fast growth rate of between eight and 12 percent should triple market size by 2015, according to an ADB study.

The ADB's Asian Environment Outlook 2005 report said that after governments took notice, it was time for the private sector to follow the lead.

"We now see that governments across our region -- from India, to Thailand, to the People's Republic of China -- are increasingly ready to take on environmental challenges," said Nessim Ahmad of the ADB's environment and social safeguards division.

"Enforcement of pollution control laws is tightening, budgets for environmental protection are increasing, and judiciaries are taking tougher stances," he added.

"The improved environmental quality demanded by the public will require investment in wastewater treatment, solid waste management, sustainable public transport, and clean, renewable energy systems -- all of which are critical to the economic and environmental future of the region."

Ahmad said Asian consumers are now also demanding greener and more environment-friendly products.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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