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China Daily Website

ICBC OK to buy stake in Argentina bank

Updated: 2012-11-12 16:42
By Wang Xiaotian (

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, the world's biggest lender by market value, was given the go-ahead by Argentina's central bank to conduct its biggest takeover in nearly four years in the South American country.

It got the formal approval on Nov 8 to buy an 80 percent stake in Standard Bank Argentina and its two affiliates for $650 million, asset manager Standard Investments and Inversora Diagnol, a commercial service provider, ICBC said in a statement released on Saturday.

The bank will keep the current staff and executives of SBA while sending a management team there to guarantee the stability of operations and a smooth integration, it said.

After the deal, which was announced by the lender in August, ICBC will become the first Chinese lender to enter Latin America's third-largest economy.

SBA is Argentina's 12th biggest bank by assets. It has a full license for enterprise including retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking and other business.

After the transaction is completed, ICBC and Standard Bank London Holdings Plc plan to invest $100 million jointly in SBA, ICBC said in last August.

The Johannesburg-based Standard Bank will reduce its stake in all three companies to 20 percent.

Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC, said on Sunday that the bank aims to become an international commercial lender. By the year's end it will have extended business to 40 countries and regions.

ICBC has conducted more than 10 overseas purchases, according to Jiang.

By the end of September, the bank had nearly $155 billion of overseas assets, up 21.5 percent from the start of the year. In the first nine months, its overseas institutions made a profit of $796 million, up by 27.2 percent year-on-year, exceeding domestic growth.

The non-performing loan ratio of overseas lending stood at 0.45 percent by the end of September, according to ICBC.