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Sep 21, 2010, 09.44 AM IST | Source: Reuters

China's CIC says wary of investing in 'old' automakers

China Investment Corp (CIC), China's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, "has doubts" about investing in old line automakers and would approach any such deals cautiously, the fund's general manager said on Friday.

China's CIC says wary of investing in 'old' automakers

China Investment Corp (CIC), China's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, "has doubts" about investing in old line automakers and would approach any such deals cautiously, the fund's general manager said on Friday.

CIC was approached by a number of car makers during the financial crisis, including some major ones, about possible investments, said Gao Xiqing, speaking at an automotive forum in Chengdu, China. He did not name the companies.

"We will be cautious about investing in the traditional auto industry," said Gao.

"An investment fund like us has to invest in relatively conservative and stable industries. We have to invest in companies that will survive 50 years from now."

Gao's comments came as General Motors pursues a U.S. IPO and is in the early stages of wooing investors ahead of the offering. As one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, CIC's name is often mentioned as a potential investor in large overseas financial transactions.

Gao did not mention GM in his comments.

GM plans to begin a roadshow for its IPO immediately after the Nov. 2 U.S. midterm congressional elections, paving the way for a stock debut on Nov. 18, sources have said.

CIC's focus is primarily on foreign assets, said Gao, but he did not rule out investments in local Chinese companies listed overseas.

"The responsibility that the country gave us is not to invest (mainly) in mainland Chinese companies, but we can invest in Chinese companies listed overseas, such as those with H shares."

H shares are mainland Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong.

CIC was set up in September 2007 when the Chinese government transferred $200 billion to it from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), which manages the bulk of China's official reserves. The country's reserves totalled $2.39 trillion at the end of 2009.

The fund invested $58 billion overseas last year, after sitting on a large cash pile in 2008.

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