Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s most profitable lender, has agreed to pay about $765 million (R8.5 billion) for 60 percent of Standard Bank’s global markets unit to expand its commodities and currency trading business. Standard Bank is also granting ICBC a five-year option to acquire an additional 20 percent stake in the London-based business, according to a statement released yesterday. If it takes up that right, Standard Bank said that it could require ICBC to acquire the remaining shares within about five years. The purchase will advance ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing’s target of tripling profit contribution from overseas to 10 percent by 2016 as the bank follows corporate clients expanding abroad and seeks to tap demand for yuan-denominated goods and services. The sale will also help Standard Bank, Africa’s largest lender, renew its focus on its home continent as it withdraws from other emerging markets. The lender has been selling assets outside Africa since 2011 to raise cash for expansion in the world’s fastest-growing region. Standard Bank said the purchase price was based on the unit’s net asset value of $1.41bn at the end of June. Its shares fell 3.25 percent to R118 on the JSE yesterday. –Bloomberg