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China centrally administered enterprises saw recovery in March

CHINA'S centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) reported a rebound in performance in March with a 26 percent growth in profits from a year ago, said an official with China's state asset watchdog today.

The March figure was compared with a 33.3 percent year-on-year drop in profits during the first two months.

Government policies for cushioning effects from the global economic downturn had paid off, Li Rongrong, Minister in charge of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), said today at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference 2009 in Boao, Hainan Province.

March profits also surged 86 percent from February, he said. But the specific profits figure was not available.

Operating revenue fell 5.4 percent year on year, but rose 25 percent from February.

Li said he was optimistic but prudent about the future, and the country's economy might see a better-than-expected recovery with joint efforts from the government and enterprises.

He urged enterprises to ensure enough cash liquidity amid the financial crisis.

Talking about acquisitions abroad, he said, "money is not a problem for these enterprises going overseas for acquisition, but management is the top one".

Acquisition should be done within their capital, management and technology capability, otherwise the results would be catastrophic, he said.

He noted it was more important for major enterprises to focus on tackling the economic slowdown, as they played an important role in the national economy and also shouldered great responsibility.

The government released an announcement in February to launch a special examination on major investment projects and mergers of centrally-administered SOEs to prevent fiscal risks.

The enterprises should improve their management and structure, and upgrade information system, Li said.

The 2008 profits of Chinese SOEs under direct central government control recorded the first annual decline since 2002, falling more than 30 percent year on year to 665.29 billion yuan (US$97.2 billion).


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