China Industrial and Commercial Bank Ltd. plans to invest 100 million dollars in Standard Bank Argentina once it receives regulatory approval to buy a majority stake in the company, according to Argentine financial sources.
In August, ICBC said it would pay 600 million dollars for 80% of the Argentine subsidiary of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group Ltd. as part of its effort to follow Chinese clients as they expand globally.
Standard Bank's focus is growing in Africa and ICBC can do more to develop the Argentine operations, Standard Bank Argentina President Myles Ruck said at a conference organized by the South African Embassy in Buenos Aires.
If approved by the Argentine authorities, the deal would mark ICBC second-biggest acquisition outside of greater China following its purchase of a 20% stake in Standard Bank Group Ltd. for 5.5 billion dollars in 2007.
Standard Bank Argentina operates more than 100 branches that serve both retail and corporate customers and it is ranked No. 12 in the local banking system with 11.3 billion Pesos (2.6 billion dollars) in deposits at the end of July, according to central bank data.
ICBC boasts a growing overseas presence. Early this year, it opened branches in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid. It also bought an 80% stake in the US unit of Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia Ltd. in January.
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