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Goldman exits China's ICBC, seven years and billions later

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Fiona Lau and Elzio Barreto

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs <GS.N> launched on Monday the sale of about $1.1 billion worth of Hong Kong-traded shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China <1398.HK>, offering to sell its entire remaining stake in the world's biggest bank by market value.

The sale by Goldman would be the final chapter in the Wall Street bank's investment into China's ICBC. Prior to its 2006 IPO, ICBC was a technically insolvent state institution, reeling from the bad loans that saddled China's financial industry.

ICBC's fortunes turned after it went public, and it grew along with China's economic boom. The bank's $240 billion market value is just shy of the combined worth of J.P. Morgan <JPM.N> and Barclays <BARC.L>.

Goldman offered the shares in ICBC in a range of HK$5.47 to HK$5.50, equivalent to a discount of up to 3 percent to Monday's close of HK$5.64, according to a term sheet.

The sale would be Goldman's third in about a year. The New York-based investment bank raised $2.5 billion from a partial selldown of ICBC in April 2012, most of which was bought by Singapore state investor Temasek <TEM.UL>, and another in January 2013 worth $1 billion.

Since 2009, Goldman has sold down its stake in ICBC six times. If Goldman is able to sell the final stake for $1.1 billion, that would make total gross proceeds from the sales worth $10.1 billion.

(Reporting by Fiona Lau of IFR and Elzio Barreto; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Michael Flaherty)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130520/goldman-sachs-exit-icbc-11-billion-stake-selldown-ifr