From: Reuters
Published April 2, 2008 06:43 AM

Lehman Brothers examines China growth options

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Lehman Brothers, the U.S. investment bank that raised $4 billion this week to shore up its capital and calm investors' nerves, is looking at expanding its business in China, an executive said on Wednesday.

Lehman has expanded in Asian financial centers from Hong Kong to Singapore and Mumbai but has so far not established a large presence in China, where it has representative offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

Lehman's Asia Pacific Chief Financial Officer Enrico Corsalini, speaking to reporters in a briefing, suggested that entering the market by linking up with a local broker like other foreign investment banks have done was not its favorite option. "We're always looking at options within China. A tie-up with brokers? There are a lot of complications around that," he said.

"We're making very strong headway into China. But as far as opportunities and direct plans are concerned we're still hatching it all out."

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The bank, which employs some 3,000 people in the Asia Pacific, excluding its India back office, ranked first in mergers and acquisitions in Asia excluding Japan in the first quarter of 2008 based on four completed deals, Thomson Financial data show.

Lehman generated net revenues of $3.1 billion in Asia last year, 16 percent of group revenues of $19.3 billion.

Corsalini, who is based at Lehman's Asia headquarters in Tokyo, said the bank had booked provisions in the first quarter in relation to a lawsuit against Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp over $352 million that disappeared in a finance scam.

(Reporting by Jan Dahinten, editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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