Business / Markets

ICBC buys Standard Bank Plc

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-30 13:35

BEIJING -- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has announced that it has taken a big stake in Standard Bank Plc (SB Plc).

ICBC reached an agreement for approximately $770 million with Standard Bank Group (SBG), one of South Africa's largest financial services providers, based on the net asset value of SB Plc at the end of June 2013, according to an announcement filed with the Hong Kong Exchange by ICBC on Wednesday.

SB Plc, registered in the United Kingdom in 1992, mainly functioned as the international commodities and foreign exchange business arm of SBG.

The purchase will strengthen ICBC's international business.

Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC's board, believes the transaction will improve the bank's hedging, operations and innovation in global business with SB Plc's international reach.

Before the transaction is closed, SB Plc will divest itself of all business unrelated to the global market, according to the agreement.

ICBC has a five-year option to acquire a further 20 percent of existing shares of SB Plc, which will bring its holding to 80 percent.

The transaction still requires approval of SBG shareholders and regulatory authorities in China, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The SBG is scheduled to hold a shareholders' meeting in March.

ICBC is China's largest commercial bank by assets and owns 20 percent of Standard Bank.

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