REFILE-UPDATE 2-Goldman may trim ICBC stake - Wall St Journal

martes 24 de marzo de 2009 07:49 CET

* Goldman, ICBC in talks on Goldman reducing stake - WSJ

* Cutting stake by 15-20 pct may raise about $1 bln - WSJ

* Allianz, Amex expected to consider selldowns as lockup ends (Refiles to add missing word 'about' in first paragraph) (Adds details, background, analyst quote, changes dateline, adds byline)

By Michael Flaherty

HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Cotización) and China's ICBC (1398.HK: Cotización) have been in discussions about the New York bank reducing its stake in the world's largest financial institution, according to a report on Tuesday.

Like other Western banks before it, Goldman has been expected to consider selling down part of its 4.9 percent ownership of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS: Cotización) when the lock-up period ends at the end of next month.

That stake is worth around $8.5 billion, based on ICBC's market capitalisation of about $178 billion which makes it the world's biggest bank by that measure. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that a Goldman sell down could raise around $1 billion for the bank by selling 15-20 percent of its holding.

ICBC signed a deal in 2005 to sell a 10 percent stake to a consortium that included Goldman, European insurer Allianz AG (ALVG.DE: Cotización) and American Express Co (AXP.N: Cotización) for more than $3 billion.

Equity capital market bankers in Asia expect the other two members of the consortium to consider selling their stakes as well, as their lock-up periods also end at the end of next month.   Continuación...