StanChart takes $500m stake in AgBank float

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Standard Chartered yesterday said that it will invest $500m (£334m) in Agricultural Bank of China, which is in the process of floating its shares on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. The investment is designed to give the FTSE 100-listed bank a stronger foothold in Asia.

"This investment is a natural next step in our long-standing relationship and it underpins our recent agreement to develop business together," said Peter Sands, right, chief executive of the emerging market-focused bank. "China is a key market for us and our partnership is a strong symbol of our commitment there."

The initial public offering of Agricultural Bank of China could become one of the largest on record, with the Beijing-based group hoping to raise as much as $23.6bn. AgBank is the last of China's big four banks to float. The IPO is already being marketed to retail investors in Hong Kong, with the bank expected to name the price on 7 July. Shares will begin trading on 15 July.