ICBC back in talks with Standard Bank over London trading business

31 July 2013

South Africa's Standard Bank is currently in advanced talks to sell its London commodity trading business to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), its biggest shareholder.

Sky News reports the discussions are at a detailed stage and are expected to be concluded later in 2013, according to a source close to the situation.

The state-owned ICBC, which until recently was the world's largest lender, wants to get hold of the businesses in order to cement its presence in London and to give it more access to vital markets for trading physical commodities.

Negotiations between the two institutions started in 2012 but were put on hold during the handover of political power in Beijing earlier this year.

Insiders now say the talks have resumed with many ICBC representatives visiting London in July to continue with the negotiations.

It is thought the deal will be structured in a similar way to the one laid out seven months ago, with ICBC initially acquiring 60 per cent of the Standard Bank units, with an option to increase the stake in the future.

By Asim Shah

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