ICBC buys small U.S. brokerage firm: report

SHANGHAI (BestGrowthStock) – Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (0349.HK: )(601398.SS: ), the world’s biggest lender by market value, paid a token $1 for a small U.S. brokerage firm, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Beijing-based ICBC is buying the Prime Dealer Services unit of Fortis Securities from BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA: ), allowing France’s biggest-listed bank to dispose of the last remaining business unit of Fortis Securities for little or no cost, the journal said.

BNP Paribas took control of the Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis when it was stripped down to a pure insurer after the financial crisis in 2008 and renamed Ageas (AGES.BR: ).

ICBC could potentially get into the lucrative business of underwriting securities in the United States via the Fortis unit, which provides clearing and financing services to some 75 clients in the U.S. and Europe, it added.

The acquisition could bring in about $15 million in annual profit for ICBC, Joseph Spillane, chief executive officer of the new ICBC entity, was quoted by the Journal as saying.

Spillane declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, the Journal said.

(Reporting by Soo Ai Peng; Editing by Ken Wills)

ICBC buys small U.S. brokerage firm: report