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Goldman, Allianz seek big stakes in ICBC
(Agencies)
Updated: 2005-07-12 10:38

U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs and German financial firm Allianz are in talks to buy a stake of more than $1 billion in one of China's biggest state-owned commercial banks, a news report said Monday.


Two women walk past an Industrial and Commercial Bank of China office in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province in this July 6, 2005 photo. Goldman Sachs and Allianz of Germany are in talks to pay more than $1 billion to acquire a stake in the ICBC. [newsphoto]
The talks with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are at an early stage, The Asian Wall Street Journal said on its Web site, citing unidentified sources. The report said it wasn't clear how large a stake the foreign firms would get in the bank, also known as ICBC.

A spokesman for ICBC said the bank has held talks with potential strategic partners but refused to release any details. The spokesman would give his name only as Mr. Xie.

Allianz, an insurance and banking conglomerate based in Frankfurt, Germany, that owns Dresdner Bank, refused to comment on the report. Goldman Sachs referred comment on the report to its Hong Kong office. A message left there was not immediately returned.

State banks are looking for foreign partners to help them modernize operations and become more competitive as China prepares to open the industry to foreign competition by 2007 under commitments to the World Trade Organization.

Bank of America agreed last month to pay $3 billion for a 9 percent stake in China Construction Bank another of China's "big four" state commercial banks.

Foreign investors in Chinese banks include HSBC Plc. of Britain, Singapore's Temasek Holdings and American financial firm Newbridge Capital. Citigroup and Dutch lender ING Groep NV say they are looking for Chinese partners.
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