October 26th, 2007 | Xinhua ICBC to buy 20% of South Africa's Standard Bank
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s biggest lender, announced on Thursday it has reached an agreement to acquire a 20-percent stake in South Africa’s Standard Bank for US$5.46 billion.
ICBC will become the top shareholder of the Johannesburg-listed Standard Bank, the largest commercial bank in Africa. The deal is expected to be completed at the beginning of next year.
“This strategic collaboration of the two sides is conducive to the further deepening of Sino-Africa economic and trade cooperation,” said Jiang Jianqing, ICBC’s board chairman.
“Now the international business accounts for only three percent of all our business and we hope to increase the proportion to ten percent,” added Jiang.
ICBC is planning to open a subsidiary bank in the United States, as part of its international strategy which also involves Russia, Australia and the Middle East. The bank said it would focus on emerging markets in its future overseas investment.
Earlier last month, ICBC got the green light to set up a financial leasing company, mainly engaged in international leasing of large equipment and assets management services.
ICBC was simultaneously listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong in October last year, raising US$21.9 billion, exceeding the previous record of US$18.4 billion by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo in 1998.
The total market value of ICBC surpassed US$340 billion by the end of September, making it the world’s biggest listed financial company. It now operates 16,807 outlets domestically and 98 branches overseas.
The Standard Bank has 1,501 branches and has a presence in 18 African countries and major financial centers in Europe, North America and Asia.
The deal to buy into the Standard Bank is still awaiting approval from the shareholders of two banks and both countries’ industry watchdogs, the Chinese lender said.