So, ICBC is to become China’s first mainland bank to issue an offshore renminbi bond in London. The launch, which should take place next month, is a further milestone in the development of the renminbi as an international currency, and demonstrates London’s growing role as the European time zone centre for renminbi trading.
Wizz Air, which bills itself as the largest low-cost, low-fare airline in central-eastern Europe, said on Thursday that that it had struck a “pre-delivery payment financing and sale and leaseback agreement” with ICBC Financial Leasing, of China, for eight new Airbus A320 aircraft.
The A320s, due for delivery in 2013 and 2014 and carrying a headline price tag of $700m, represent a jump of a fifth in the current fleet of 40 such aeroplanes operated by Wizz Air.
A sign, perhaps, that the recent Chinese equities rally is running out of steam?
It emerged on Monday that Goldman Sachs has launched the sale of another slice of its stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. According to Reuters and Bloomberg, the US investment bank is offering about $1bn-worth of Hong Kong-listed ICBC shares at HK$5.77 each, a discount of 3 per cent to Monday’s close.
Buying banks is “no rose garden. We consider it a battleground”. So says Jiang Jianqing, president of China’s ICBC, the world’s biggest bank (by market capitalisation, deposits and credits).
So far, his takeover of 80 per cent of Standard Bank Argentina appears to have been more genteel – after all, ICBC has a stake in Standard Bank Group in South Africa.