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ICBC to Buy into South Africa's Standard Bank

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has agreed to buy into Standard Bank, Africa's biggest lender by assets, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters, in a deal reported
to be worth $5.5 billion.

The source, who asked not to be identified, declined to reveal the size of the stake that ICBC is buying. But he said ICBC will represent two seats on the African bank's board.

FT.com, citing a banker close to the deal, reported that ICBC will pay $5.5 billion for a stake of about 20 percent in the South African bank. The FT.com said an announcement was scheduled for later on Thursday in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg-based Standard Bank said on Wednesday it will hold a news conference on Thursday after announcing that it was in talks which may affect its share price.

Standard Bank cautioned shareholders on Tuesday that it was in negotiations which may affect the price of the group's stock.

Standard Bank is the biggest banking group by assets in Africa and operates in 18 African countries, including South Africa, and 21 other countries across the world.

ICBC's Hong Kong-listed shares were down 1 percent on Thursday, in line with the index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Hong, ahead of its earnings results due later in the day.

ICBC's shares have risen 43 percent so far this year, lagging an 87 percent gain in the H-share index.