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Standard Chartered Eyes South Africa's Nedbank: Report

Emerging markets specialist Standard Chartered is in takeover talks with South Africa's fourth-biggest bank, Nedbank Group, financial daily Business Day reported on Thursday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said Asia-focused Standard Chartered had been in discussions with Nedbank for some time.

Business Day quoted Standard Chartered South Africa Chief Executive Officer Christopher Low as saying the country was core to the group's strategy to expand its African business.

Nedbank spokesman Graham Lillie declined to comment on the report. "We don't comment on market speculation".

Standard Chartered was not immediately available for comment.

Since Britain's Barclays bought a majority stake in South Africa's biggest retail bank Absa in 2005, there has been persistent market talk that another of the country's four big banks could be taken over by a foreign banking group.

Nedbank has a market capitalization of around 62 billion rand ($8.95 billion) and is the smallest of South Africa's big four banks.