President Chirac's lobbying fails to swing stake deal for Societe Generale French President Jacques Chirac appears to have failed in lobbying on behalf of French bank Societe Generale's bid to take a stake in state-owned Guangdong Development Bank, as the official Xinhua News Agency reported last night the Citigroup-led consortium is the winner of the bid. United States financial giant Citigroup received approval in principle from China's cabinet, the State Council, to take a stake in Guangdong Development Bank earlier last month and despite Mr Chirac's visit to Beijing last week in which he pressed Chinese officials to reconsider their decision, the deal appears to be going ahead. 'The president discussed the deal in general terms but received no precise answer from the Chinese on this matter,' said Jerome Bonnafont, Mr Chirac's chief spokesman. Xinhua News Agency last night confirmed an earlier South China Morning Post report that Citigroup has won the right to invest up in the troubled lender as head of a consortium that will take a total of 85 per cent. The US firm will be subject to Chinese banking laws limiting individual foreign banks to a 20 per cent stake and total foreign holdings to 25 per cent. 'The Americans have already started negotiating with Guangdong Development Bank over the revised terms of the deal,' said one French banking source. Insiders confirmed that no final deal has yet been signed but negotiations are continuing. Societe Generale argues that it still has an outside chance of winning as Citigroup does not have a stable consortium of mainland partners and one of its original partners, China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corp, dropped out of its consortium just two weeks ago. 'We are convinced we are the only one that can bring such a valuable business proposal and strong consortium to the table,' said Laurent Tison, Societe Generale's head of communications for Asia-Pacific. 'Our consortium has been stable for nine months now.' In its proposal, Societe Generale would take 20 per cent, Baosteel 20 per cent, Sinopec 20 per cent, Jilin Trust Investment 10 per cent, Dalian Shide 10 per cent. Canada's largest institutional fund manager, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, would take 5 per cent. Citigroup has not revealed the members of its consortium and would not comment yesterday. Mr Tison also said French lobbying has not ended yet, as the governor of Guangdong province, Huang Huahua, is due in Paris on November 10 to attend the Hong Kong-Guangdong Business Conference, along with Donald Tsang. Citigroup, Societe Generale and Ping An Insurance have been bidding for over a year to lead a group of mainland firms in taking a combined 85 per cent of Guangdong Development Bank and have had to revise their bids more than once.