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Two Investors Sell Combined US$1.9b Stake In ICBC

THE Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said Allianz SE and American Express Co sold a combined US$1.9-billion stake in the lender on expiry of a share lockup period yesterday.

Allianz sold 3.216 billion Hong Kong-listed shares, or half its stake, while Amex sold 638 million shares, or half its stake, ICBC said yesterday, without offering price details.

The two overseas investors' remaining stakes in ICBC will expire on October 20. Allianz still holds 0.97 percent of ICBC's total stake.

Analysts said it's not a surprise to see the disposal of the Beijing-based ICBC stakes as overseas partners have already pared holdings in Chinese banks to raise capital.

Royal Bank of Scotland and Switzerland's UBS sold their stakes in the Bank of China in January after share lockup pacts expired, and Bank of America cut its stake in China Construction Bank Corp to raise funds to repair balance sheets hit by writedowns on toxic securities.

Allianz and Amex sold their ICBC stakes to private investors at HK$3.86 (50 US cents) apiece, a 4-percent discount to Monday's closing price, reported Bloomberg News, quoting two people familiar with the transactions who declined to be identified.


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