(Adds details, spokesman comment)
JOHANNESBURG, July 30 (Reuters) - South Africa's Standard
Bank is in advanced talks to sell its London commodity
trading business to its biggest shareholder Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China, a person familiar with the
matter said on Tuesday.
The deal would mark the latest move by Africa's top bank to
hive off businesses outside the continent as it focuses on
building its presence in fast-growing sub-Saharan markets.
Talks between Standard Bank and ICBC, which owns about 20
percent of the Johannesburg-based lender, were progressing, said
the person, who declined to be identified because the
information is not yet public.
A spokesman for Standard Bank said in a statement the two
lenders were "jointly exploring areas of greater co-operation,
including global markets and commodities".
Britain's Sky News earlier reported that Standard Bank's
London foreign exchange trading operation would likely be part
of the deal.
It was not immediately clear how much Standard Bank was
asking for the business and when the deal would be announced.
Standard Bank last year finalised the sale of 80 percent of
its Argentine business to ICBC.
The bank said in November it planned to cut up to 15 percent
of its London staff to save $100 million.
(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)