Standard Chartered set to take over Pakistan bank

KARACHI, July 18, 2006 (AFP) – Emerging markets giant Standard Chartered is completing a deal to buy Pakistan’s Union Bank in what would be the South Asian country’s largest corporate takeover, banking officials said Tuesday. The British-based bank plans to acquire a 49 percent stake in the company from a Saudi investor, they said.

“Due diligence of the transaction has been completed and regulatory approval may take some time for formal completion of the deal,” State Bank of Pakistan spokesman Syed Wasimuddin told AFP.

“(The deal) is good for the country, for the banking sector,” Union Bank President Shaukat Tareen said, without giving details of the sale.

Reports said the deal would be worth at least 500 million dollars but the central bank would not confirm it.

Banking sources said the takeover could take place by November, with the sale agreement being signed by September.

Union Bank is Pakistan’s eighth largest bank with two billion dollars in assets, 65 branches across Pakistan and two overseas, officials said. “This is the biggest ever corporate takeover in the country and a good omen for the banking sector which is already performing well,” said Syed Sulaiman Akhtar, banking analyst at Foundation Se