UPDATE 1-Standard Bank in talks to sell UK commodity arm to ICBC -source

07/30/2013

(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)



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