Page last updated at 18:28 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Bank of China looking at HBOS bid

Halifax branch
HBOS in the process of being bought by Lloyds TSB

Chinese banking giant Bank of China is looking at a potential bid for UK lender HBOS, BBC business editor Robert Peston has reported.

He added that Bank of China's interest was "at a pretty early stage", and it was unlikely any formal bid would result.

Bank of China is in early talks with UK businessman Jim Spowart and investment firm European American Capital.

HBOS is in the process of being taken over by fellow UK lender Lloyds TSB.

Job loss fears

Lloyds said last week that its acquisition of HBOS will lead to annual cost savings of at least 1.5bn, leading to fears of heavy job losses.

It has not said how many jobs will be cut, but said there was scope for "significant cost savings" from combing the branches and back offices of the two organisations.

Together the two firms currently employ 140,000 people.

The banks have detailed plans to raise up to 17bn as part of the government's bail-out plan for the UK banking sector.

HBOS last week rejected a call from two former bank chiefs that they be appointed heads of the firm and keep it independent.

The offer came from Sir Peter Burt, the former chief executive of Bank of Scotland before its 2001 merger with Halifax to create HBOS, and Sir George Mathewson, ex-head of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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