China Minsheng Banking Corp, the country's first private lender, will auction a 3.26 per cent stake in Haitong Securities, China's third-largest listed brokerage. The country's seventh-largest lender will sell 134 million shares through an auction at the China Beijing Equity Exchange, a site for trade in unlisted assets. Minsheng Bank is expected to rake in at least 3 billion yuan (HK$3.35 billion) in after-tax profit from the deal, equivalent to almost 50 per cent of its net profit last year. The disposal of the stake, which Minsheng Bank acquired as a debt repayment, was required under mainland banking rules. Analysts expected the stake sale to sustain Minsheng Bank's robust earnings growth. Net profit last year surged 68.6 per cent to 6.3 billion yuan from a year earlier, powered by strong growth in net interest income and fee income. The share sale will also provide additional capital for Minsheng Bank to diversify into non-traditional banking services. In an attempt to expand into trust business, Minsheng Bank acquired a 25.56 per cent interest in Shaanxi International Trust & Investment Corp, a local trust firm, for 2.34 billion yuan last month. In October, Minsheng Bank acquired a 9.9 per cent stake in United States-based UCBH Holdings, the largest lender offering services to Chinese living in the US, in a bid to build a global presence. That represented the first time a mainland commercial bank had made a strategic investment in a US bank. Dong Wenbiao, chairman of Minsheng Bank, said last year that the company was going to become a diversified financial institution over the next five years. He said the lender would seek businesses such as investment banking, asset securitisation and financial leasing. Shares of Minsheng Bank closed at 8.22 yuan in Shanghai yesterday, down 3.29 per cent from the previous trading, while Haitong's shares closed 4.27 per cent lower at 54.75 yuan.