Goldman to raise 1bn by selling part of ICBC stake

GOLDMAN Sachs is selling up to about $1.9bn (&pound;1.15bn) worth of shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China at a discount of between four and six per cent to the Chinese lender&rsquo;s losing price yesterday.<br /><br />The shares represent nearly 20 per cent of Goldman&rsquo;s 4.93 per cent stake in the Chinese bank, which is the world&rsquo;s biggest lender by market value.<br /><br />Goldman pledged earlier this year to keep 80 per cent of its holding in ICBC until April 2010.<br /><br />Under an earlier lock-up agreement, Goldman would have been permitted to sell half of its stake in the state-controlled bank this April and the rest in October.<br /><br />The Wall Street bank sold 3.03bn shares at HK$4.80-HK$4.90 each, according to a term sheet.<br /><br />ICBC&rsquo;s Hong Kong shares rose 4.7 per cent to close at HK$5.11 yesterday. Goldman Sachs, which was managing its own sale, declined to comment.<br /><br />ICBC&rsquo;s Hong Kong-listed shares have jumped nearly 43 per cent since Goldman announced plans to extend its investment in the bank, which was also the day ICBC posted flat fourth-quarter profits.<br /><br />Hong Kong&rsquo;s Hang Seng Index has risen nearly 39 per cent over the same period, including a 3.95 per cent surge yesterday.<br /><br />Battered western banks including Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS have sold stakes in big Chinese banks in recent months in order to raise capital.