Germany’s Allianz Group, investment bank Goldman Sachs and American Express Company, have agreed to jointly acquire a 10 percent stake in China’s largest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC).
The deal, valued at around $3.78 billion, envisions future “strategic cooperation initiatives.” The investment will be made through the issuance of new shares of ICBC, and is subject to the approval of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
A bulletin on the Allianz Website (www.allianz.com) noted: “Under the agreements, each of the strategic investors will cooperate with ICBC across a range of business and management areas. Goldman Sachs will assist ICBC to develop further the Bank’s corporate governance, risk management and internal controls, as well as to provide expertise to enhance ICBC’s capabilities in treasury, asset management, corporate and investment banking, non-performing loans disposal and product innovation.
“Allianz Group will cooperate with ICBC to provide leading bancassurance products and services to the Bank’s clients, while American Express and ICBC will continue to develop their existing strategic cooperation in the bank card business.”
Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of ICBC, commented: “I am delighted that ICBC has formed these strategic alliances with three very special partners. Today’s announcement marks a new beginning for ICBC’s corporate governance reform and business development.”
Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Henry M. Paulson, Jr. indicated: “Today’s agreement strengthens our long-standing commitment to ICBC and to China and its financial sector reform. This represents the beginning of what I am sure will be a long and successful relationship between our organizations.”
Allianz Chairman Michael Diekmann stated: “China is a strategic market for Allianz and this partnership emphasizes our long-term commitment to the market. This is an excellent investment opportunity that also offers a platform for our strategic expansion in China. Through this agreement, Allianz will become one of ICBC´s most important insurance and investment product providers.”
“ICBC has been an excellent card issuing partner for American Express, and we are delighted to deepen our strong, strategic relationship,” observed Kenneth I. Chenault, Amex Chairman and CEO. “This investment is a reflection of our confidence in our partner, ICBC, our strong interest in the Chinese market, and our deep commitment to support this market through quality products and services for Chinese consumers that satisfy their growing needs.”
ICBC is the largest wholesale and retail bank in China by assets and deposits and is a market leader in many business areas including corporate and personal loans, deposits, mortgages, e-banking, custodian services and inter-bank clearing. It provides a wide range of commercial banking services to corporate and individual customers. ICBC has approximately 18,000 outlets and employs 360,000 people across China.
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