Standard Bank Group (SBG) and its Argentinean partners have signed an agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which is a 20% shareholder in Standard Bank Group, for the sale of a majority stake in Standard Bank Argentina (SBA) for US$600m. SBG will sell 55% of its current 75% shareholding and retain a 20% shareholding in SBA.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2012.
Jacko Maree, SBG chief executive officer (CEO), said: “”We have been operating in Argentina for over 12 years, meaningfully increasing our presence in 2007 when we acquired the operations of BankBoston. While SBA has been a profitable and well-managed acquisition for the group, it is currently our only universal banking operation outside the African continent. The proposed transaction presents an opportunity to realise value from the group’s successful investment in Argentina and also offers us the opportunity to continue to develop our partnership with ICBC and to help connect Argentina to Africa and other selected emerging markets, including Brazil and China.”
With China being Argentina’s second largest trading partner, the proposed transaction will provide ICBC with an entry point into Argentina as the first Chinese bank to operate there.
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