Chinese lender ICBC set to buy Thailand's ACL Bank

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 30 Sep 2009

SHANGHAI: The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China says it plans to buy a stake in Thailand's ACL Bank, and to make a tender offer to other shareholders.

The deal between the Bangkok Bank of Thailand calls, announced late Tuesday, calls for ICBC to buy a 19.26 percent stake in ACL at 11.5 Thai baht (0.34 U.S. cents) per share, the Chinese lender said in a statement posted on its Web site.

ICBC, the world's biggest lender by market value and profits, said it will make a tender offer to other ACL Bank shareholders, which include the Thai Finance Ministry.

The acquisition is part of ICBC's effort to expand overseas, in this case in Southeast Asia. The bank has been setting up branches in the U.S., the Middle East and Europe.

"ICBC has always considered Thailand an important market. This deal is significant for improving our network and services in the Mekong Delta region and Southeast Asia," ICBC's chairman, Jiang Jianqing, said in a statement.

ICBC has made strategic investments elsewhere in the developing world, including a 20 percent stake in South Africa's Standard Group.

Bangkok Bank is Thailand's biggest commercial bank, with total assets exceeding $50 billion. ACL held assets worth $1.87 billion as of June 30.

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