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ICBC buys stake to grow business

INDUSTRIAL and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest lender by market value, announced yesterday that it would buy a 70 percent stake in a Canadian subsidiary of the Bank of East Asia for C$80.25 million (US$73 million).

In return, BEA would buy out ICBC's 75 percent stake in ICEA Finance Holdings Ltd for HK$372 million (US$48 million), ICBC said in a notice on its Website.

ICEA, a joint venture of ICBC and BEA, would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of BEA after the transaction. ICEA's main businesses included provision of securities brokerage, underwriting and futures contracts dealing. By the end of 2008, its net assets totaled HK$451 million.

"The two deals will create a mutually-beneficial situation for both parties," said ICBC Chairman Jiang Jianqing. "The acquisition of a 70 percent stake in BEA Canada will enable ICBC to establish its banking business and customer base in Canada, which will provide a strong platform to further expand our businesses and network across North America."


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