African regional Awards for Excellence
There are always four banks in with a shout of winning the best bank in Africa award: Standard Chartered, Barclays, Citi and Standard Bank. While none of the other banks has done anything particularly wrong, one candidate stands out: South Africa’s Standard Bank. It has helped instigate the acquisition of a 20% stake in itself through a R36.7 billion ($5.5 billion) cash offer by ICBC, China’s biggest lender and the largest bank in the world by market capitalization. It is more of a marriage than a partnership, and suggests that China plans to be in Africa for the long run. It is the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese bank and the largest foreign investment in Africa. The deal was negotiated in quite a short time frame. The first approach was made by the Chinese at the IMF meeting in Washington DC at the end of October. The offer was put to the board. There have been shareholder meetings in both South Africa and China.