Goldman Sachs sells stake in ICBC to Temasek for $2.5 bn

Written by Bloomberg | San Francisco | Updated: Apr 17 2012, 07:18am hrs
Goldman Sachs Group is selling a stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China to Temasek Holdings in its largest divestment of the worlds biggest bank by market value.

The Wall Street firm is selling $2.5 billion of shares at HK$5.05 each, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

It sold 3.55 billion shares, or 4% of ICBCs Hong Kong-traded shares, to Temasek, the Singapore state-owned investment group said. Temasek, which is increasing stakes in Chinas biggest banks, paid $2.3 billion for the stock, based on the per-share price and stake size.

Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Bank of America were among foreign banks that spent a combined $22 billion between 2004 and 2006 to purchase stakes in Chinese lenders ahead of their initial public offerings. Shares of ICBC have rallied more than 40 percent since hitting a 2 1/2-year low in October as concern eased that Europes debt crisis would lead to a further economic slowdown in China.

The ICBC stocks have done well for them, Sandy Mehta, chief executive officer at Hong Kong-based Value Investment Principals Ltd., said by telephone today. Youll continue to see sales of Chinese bank stocks by these banks. Its a continuation of the trend. Its been happening now for a year.

The MSCI China/Financials Index, which includes ICBC, has tripled in value in the past eight years.

ICBC shares dropped 0.8 percent to HK$5.17 at the close of trading in Hong Kong, the first decline in three days. The stock trades at 6.4 times estimated earnings, down from a multiple of 9.9 a year earlier, according to data.