China's Biggest Bank Buys Controlling Stake in Standard Bank's UK Business

© AP Photo / Greg Baker, FileSign is seen outside the headquarters of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Beijing
Sign is seen outside the headquarters of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Beijing - Sputnik International
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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has purchased a 60 percent stake in Standard Bank's UK operation. The deal marks another stage of China's global economic expansion, experts say.

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MOSCOW, February 2 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) announced it purchased a controlling stake in Standard Bank's UK-based global markets business.

"The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) announced on Monday the acquisition of a 60-percent stake in Standard Bank Plc.," Xinhua reported.

According to ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing, the liberalization of China's capital market along with offshore RMB business development and the stimulation of overseas investment will substantially strengthen China's positions on the global market.

"The acquisition of Standard Bank Plc is important for ICBC to proactively deal with this demand," Jiang emphasized, as quoted by Xinhua.

The ICBC paid $690 million for a 60 percent stake in Standard Bank Plc, a UK branch of Standard Bank Group (SBG), the flagship African banking business, the Financial Times notes. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is known as one of the country's biggest lenders by assets. It is expected that the joint venture will become a global market platform consolidating the two networks, boosting their mutual development. Experts stress that the deal clearly marks a new stage of China's international expansion.

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"China and Africa have an increasingly important shared role in the future of the global economy. This partnership brings together ICBC's financial and global reach, with Standard Group's deep expertise in Africa, to the benefit of our mutual and prospective clients," reveals David Munro, chief executive at Standard Bank, as quoted by the Financial Times.

In 2007, the ICBC paid $5.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in SBG in order to increase China's presence in Africa, while in 2011 it acquired an 80 percent stake in Standard Bank Argentina in a deal worth $600 million.

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