Standard Bank, South Africas biggest bank, last month took what joint CEO Sim Tshabalala calls its "most significant strategic action" since announcements four years ago that it would refocus on Africa, reversing a pan-emerging markets strategy.
ICBC will have a five-year option to purchase a further 20% of Standard Bank plc, exercisable two years after the deal is completed, while Standard Bank will also have a put option, exercisable after ICBCs option is exercised, to sell the remaining 20% for cash.
Standard Bank retains 25% of Standard Unlu and 20% of the Argentine operations. But Tshabalala says the sale of Standard Bank plc "is the biggest of the post-2010 disposals" within the refocus on Africa. "Its the most significant strategic action weve made pursuant to the announcements we made in 2010."
Out of Africa
ICBC is buying a business that includes commodities, fixed income, currencies, credit and equities products and operations in New York, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It excludes Standard Banks operations outside Africa in corporate, transactional and investment banking.
In a statement, Standard Bank said the global markets business could continue to service its clients in Africa. But the bank has been looking to release capital from its London operations, while it continues to invest in the rest of Africa, particularly in retail.
"We are paying up for [expansion in the rest of Africa] now so that in five to 10 years time were well positioned," says Tshabalala.