BEIJING, June 15 -- Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank AG has raised its stake in Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co Ltd, the Chinese partner of German engineering group MAN AG, to 5.21 per cent.
Yutong said so yesterday in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The figure was up from 1.25 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
Yutong, one of China's top large- and medium-sized bus producers, based in Henan Province, said the bank held 20.84 million of its yuan-denominated shares by the time the stock market closed on Friday.
Yutong runs a joint venture with MAN AG in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan, to assemble bus chassis and spare parts.
Yutong didn't reveal how much the German lender paid for the bigger stake. The bus maker's stock ended at 7.91 yuan (99 US cents) per share yesterday, jumping 4.35 per cent.
Deutsche Bank is now the second biggest shareholder of Yutong after Yutong Group, an industrial conglomerate in Henan which holds 27.65 per cent of the Shanghai-listed Yutong.
Deutsche Bank is one of the qualified foreign institutional investors (QFIIs) approved by Chinese regulators to buy yuan-denominated stocks and bonds. It now has a quota of US$400 million, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
Analysts said the move taken by the German lender signals QFIIs' mounting interest in well-performing mainland stock. Such shares are also being boosted by a strong yuan.
"It is a natural profit-taking move in the stock market for Deutsche Bank to lift its stake in Yutong as the latter is a bus market leader in China with a sound profitability and cashflow," said Zhang Xin from Guotai & Jun'an Securities Co Ltd, based in Beijing.
Yutong reaped a net income of 34.5 million yuan (US$4.3 million) in the first quarter of this year, up 23.7 per cent from a year ago. Its turnover rose by 20 per cent.
From January to March, Yutong sold almost 3,000 buses, up 24.7 per cent from the same period last year.
Yu Li, a securities official at Yutong, told China Daily that Deutsche Bank may buy more shares in Yutong as the bus manufacturer is on "a steady growth track."
According to China's regulations, a single QFII is permitted to hold a maximum stake of 10 per cent in a mainland-listed company.
Yutong Group, the parent firm, said earlier that it aims to boost total sales to 40,000 buses a year by 2012 from 20,000 units last year.
It expects to be one of the world's top five bus makers by then.
Vehicle sales in China, including buses, trucks and cars, surged by 30.8 per cent year-on-year to 2.97 million units in the first five months of this year, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Yutong is also aggressively expanding overseas.
The group aims to export one-third of its buses by value in the coming years, up from less than 10 per cent of them last year.
To achieve that goal, Yutong plans to build more assembly plants and create more sales and service networks abroad. It now has a plant in Cuba.
Last year, the firm exported 1,100 buses worth 630 million yuan (US$79 million).
(Source: China Daily)