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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, China
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ICBC takes over Standard Bank Argentina

The $600mn transaction aims to strengthen the lender’s business network across Latin America and enhance our operating capability in the Americas.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world's biggest lender by market value, announced its biggest takeover in nearly four years on Friday. The bank will buy an 80 percent stake in the Argentine division of South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd.

ICBC will pay $600 million for the stake in Standard Bank Argentina SA (SBA), Standard Investments SA and Inversora Diagonal SA, according to a statement from the lender.

SBA is Argentina's 12th biggest bank by assets. It has a full license, 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.

"The acquisition is a win-win choice for all parties. It will help ICBC obtain a commercial banking license in Argentina and become the first Chinese financial institution to enter the local market, which is very important to ICBC's global strategy," said Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC.

South America is a region that is an important component in the bank's globalization strategy, and Argentina is one of the key focused markets for the bank, with strong radiation to the whole South American region, said ICBC in a news release.

"If successfully completed, the transaction will strengthen ICBC's business network across Latin America and enhance our operating capability in the Americas," said Jiang.

View the full story in China Daily.

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