Standard Bank has announced a strategic partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), the world’s largest bank by market capitalisation, in terms of which ICBC will become a 20% shareholder in Standard Bank Group. This deal will result in a R36.7bn (approximately US$5.5bn) equity investment into Standard Bank. Foreign ownership of Standard Bank, currently at around 25%, will increase to approximately 40% after the proposed transaction, leaving Standard Bank still majority South African-owned. The transaction is subject to the approval of the South African Registrar of Banks, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the Johannesburg JSE, and Standard Bank and ICBC shareholders. ICBC views South Africa as an attractive market for investment, given its growth prospects, its sophisticated economic and well-regulated financial services infrastructure, as well as its rapidly growing banking customer base. ICBC plans to acquire a further 11.11% of the aggregate issued ordinary share capital of Standard Bank Group from existing Standard Bank Group ordinary shareholders at a price per share of R136. This represents a premium of 30% over the 30-trading-day volume weighted average price for Standard Bank as of 22 October 2007, the day immediately prior to Standard Bank’s cautionary announcement related to this transaction. These transactions will result in ICBC holding 20% of Standard Bank Group after the new share issue and the purchase of shares from existing shareholders.
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