Standard Bank gets huge support for Chinese deal

THRILLED: Standard Bank chief executive, Jacko Marco.© Unknown.
THRILLED: Standard Bank chief executive, Jacko Marco.© Unknown.

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

More than 95percent of Standard Bank shareholders voted in favour of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited's (ICBC) R36,7billion offer for 20percent of the local bank.

Standard Bank chief executive, Jacko Maree, said: "It's an overwhelming vote of confidence in what is one of the most exciting deals ever done by Standard Bank."

Fears had been raised that Standard Bank would fail to muster the required 75percent acceptance level after the Wall Street company, Citibank, advised Standard Bank shareholders to hold out for a higher offer.

But the shareholders rejected that advice and will now get R136 per share for 11,1percent of their holding in March.

Only the curators of the troubled financial institution, Fidentia, which owns 1,5percent of Standard Bank, and a few foreign investors heeded Citibank's advice.

ICBC's shareholders will now vote for the deal next Thursday. This is seen as a formality because ICBC is majority state-owned and the Chinese government has already given its approval for what will be both China's and South Africa's biggest foreign deal ever.

An application will then be made to the High Court of South Africa on December 18 for an order sanctioning the scheme.

After Standard Bank shareholders showed their support yesterday, the share price dropped from Friday's close of R105 to R104, the price at which ICBC is buying half of its 20 percent stake in newly issued shares.

The issue of new Standard Bank shares requires existing shareholders to sell slightly more than 10 percent of their holding to bring ICBC's final tally back to 20 percent.