Buenos Aires - Argentina has given approval for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to take control of the local operations of South Africa's Standard Bank following a $600m deal last year, an official source said on Saturday.
ICBC, the world's biggest bank by market value, will take 80% of commercial lender Standard Bank Argentina and its two affiliates, asset manager Standard Investments and Inversora Diagnol, a commercial service provider.
Johannesburg-based Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] will reduce its stake in all three firms to 20%.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the operation had been given the go-ahead by Argentina's central bank.
ICBC will be the first Chinese lender to enter Latin America's third-largest economy, where President Cristina Fernandez ordered banks in July to lend nearly 15bn pesos (about $3.1bn) by year's end to finance investment in production.
When the deal was announced in August 2011, Fernandez asked the bank to present an investment plan to her government.
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