The struggling trading house that until recently was China’s top copper merchant has agreed a partnership with a Russian think tank and a Hong Kong company, a deal it said would help it resolve its debt crisis.
(Bloomberg) — The struggling trading house that until recently was China’s top copper merchant has agreed a partnership with a Russian think tank and a Hong Kong company, a deal it said would help it resolve its debt crisis.
Maike Metals International Ltd. announced the partnership with the Chinese branch of the Social Conservative Policy Center, linked to the ruling United Russia party, and also with Hong Kong-based China Sea Inspection Industry Group Co., in a statement on WeChat.
Maike until recently was responsible for a quarter of China’s refined copper imports, but ran into difficulties last year amid China’s extended Covid lockdowns. Bloomberg reported in September that its trading activity had largely ground to a halt, and the company entered a “preliminary restructuring” process earlier this year.
The WeChat statement offered no financial details of the partnership, but said that it would help Maike “overcome operational difficulties” and “resolve major debts”.
Maike’s Chairman He Jinbi told Bloomberg News that company is still working on details with the parties.
United Russia, which supports President Vladimir Putin but is nominally independent of him, is the ruling party in Russia’s parliament. The Social Conservative Policy Center is a think tank started in 2005 by then-United Russia leader Boris Gryzlov. It helps United Russia to form policy on social and economic issues.
“These are marginal organizations,” said Alexey Maslov, director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, explaining that the Social Conservative Policy Center is far from influential in Russia, and the deal is likely a private initiative.
A spokesperson for United Russia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
–With assistance from Clara Ferreira Marques.
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