FirstRand says it is not in talks with Chinese bank

South African banking group FirstRand on Friday said it was not in talks with a Chinese bank over selling a stake.

“We are not in discussions with a Chinese bank,” FirstRand spokesperson Sam Moss said.

Shares in FirstRand rose earlier on Friday after the China Daily reported that a state-owned Chinese bank was in talks to buy a stake in banking arm First National Bank.

FirstRand shares gained as much as 3,6% to R17,45 but pared gains after the FirstRand denial.

Analysts told China Daily that China Development Bank (CDB), one of the country’s three policy banks, was the most likely lender to be in talks for the stake.

CDB, which lends under Beijing’s guidance, operates a $5-billion China-African Development Fund to provide cheap financing to mainland firms doing business in Africa.

International and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest lender by assets, bought a 20% stake in South Africa’s biggest banking group, Standard Bank, for $5,5-billion in October last year.—Reuters

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