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China' Forex Administration Buys BP Stake

British energy giant BP has confirmed that the buyer of just under one percent of its shares is a Hong Kong branch of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, state media said Wednesday

British energy giant BP has confirmed that the buyer of just under one percent of its shares is a Hong Kong branch of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, state media said Wednesday.

A BP spokesperson in charge of global investor relations said the buyer was SAFE Investment Company Limited, formed in 1997 with a registered capital of 100 million Hong Kong dollars (13 million dollars), the Caijing magazine said.

The spokesperson did not disclose any financial details of the deal.

But it could be worth more than two billion dollars based on BP's current market capitalisation of 104 billion pounds (204 billion dollars).

But with the weakening of the US dollar and the establishment of rival China Investment Corp. in September 2007, its investment is turning more aggressive in search of higher returns.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that the administration pumped in 2.8 billion dollars for 1.6 percent of French oil group Total.

That followed the agency's purchase of less than one percent in Australia and New Zealand Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank in late 2007 previous reports said.