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Standard Chartered in talks to sell its private equity business to ICG

The move comes as part of a broader disposal of its ‘principal finance’ investment businesses

Standard Chartered has also separately completed the sale of the other half of its ‘principal finance unit’–comprising its real estate investment business across Asia– already to private equity firm Actis. The bank stated on Monday.

The UK-based bank, whose business is focused on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, did not disclose the exact size of that deal. Reuters reported in November that the real estate ‘principal finance business’ overall has around US$700 mn in investments across Asia and Africa.

A spokesman for the bank confirmed the completion of the Actis deal. Both Standard Charted and ICG declined to comment on the prospective ICG deal.

The disposals follow Standard Charted’s decision in late 2016 to exit the principal finance business– which invests both the bank’s and its clients’ money– as part of a broader strategic shift under Chief Executive Bill Winters. The focus was shifted more on serving the bank’s corporate and individual customers.

The business had been a burden on Standard Charted’s performance, reporting an operating loss of $217 mn in 2016. From 2017 onwards, the gains and losses from the business were excluded from the bank’s overall financial performance.

The 20-strong Standard Charted team in Asia, led by Brian Chinappi, will join Actis, said the company in a statement. The deal will also add two new offices for Actis in Shanghai and Seoul as part of the acquisition, it added.

Reuters reported in March the two parties had reached a provisional agreement on the deal, as Standard Charted looked to offload the principal finance business, in order to focus on its core corporate and retail banking businesses.

However the deal to offload to ICG the private equity business which comprises the rest of the principal finance business has yet to be confirmed, stated the source.

London-based alternative asset manager ICG had $37.63 bn in assets under management at the end of June—ranging  across a number of private equity, credit and debt strategies.

-GBO Correspondent

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