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Standard Chartered snaps up Korea First Bank

Standard Chartered snaps up Korea First Bank

(14 January 2005 – South Korea) British bank Standard Chartered has enlarged its presence in Asia by purchasing Korea First Bank for US$3.3 billion. Standard Chartered reportedly outbid rival HSBC for the bank in a deal that is the biggest single foreign investment ever made in South Korea’s finance sector.

Standard Chartered chief executive Mervyn Davies said buying KFB was a "big step" in the UK bank’s aspiration to lead the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

He said the deal was a significant acquisition in a growth market and the bank’s second largest market in Asia after Hong Kong.

The bank will issue £1 billion in new shares to help fund the acquisition of KFB, which is South Korea’s seventh biggest bank. KFB has six percent share of a market worth US$44 billion.

HSBC reportedly scuppered takeover talks, citing the rising value of South Korea’s currency versus the US dollar.

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