Hong Kong: Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has advised Spain’s largest bank, Banco Santander SA (“Santander”), on its acquisition of an 8% equity stake in China’s second-largest urban commercial and retail lender, Bank of Shanghai Co., from HSBC Holdings Plc (“HSBC”). The transaction, which is subject to approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, also includes the signing of a cooperation agreement between Santander and Bank of Shanghai, and represents a total investment of €470 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014, making Santander the second largest shareholder and international strategic partner of the Chinese bank.
Bank of Shanghai has 294 branches, 231 based in Shanghai, where it is headquartered. It has 8 million personal banking customers and almost 200,000 corporate customers, most of which are small and medium sized companies.
Corporate partner Emma Davies commented, “We are pleased to assist Santander on this strategic investment. This is an important step for Santander in strengthening its position in China, and is consistent with the bank’s objective to expand its business outside Europe and Latin America.”
In 2012, Santander was the first Spanish or Latin American bank to win authorisation to operate in local currency, the renminbi, which allows it to carry out transactions for corporate customers established in China. The bank currently has branches in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and a representative office in Beijing.
Emma led the transaction and was supported by senior associates Paula Liu and Bryan Koo, based in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
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