Allianz, American Express and Goldman Sachs have signed agreements with the largest retail bank by assets in China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, to invest a total of $3.78 billion.
Under the agreement, the groups will assist the bank in its financial reforms. Goldman Sachs will help the bank develop corporate governance, risk management and internal controls. Allianz will provide bancassurance products and American Express will extend their existing bank card business.
Goldman Sachs is investing $2.58 billion for a stake of around 7% and Allianz will invest around $1 billion for a 2.5% stake in the Beijing-based lender. Under Chinese banking rules, the bank may still sell a further 15% of its shares to foreign investors.
ICBC is the latest Chinese bank to bring in foreign investors who are looking for a footprint in the Chinese financial sector, in return for expertise. Chinese banks are gearing up for the opening of the country’s financial markets this year.