DBS Group has agreed to buy a 13 per cent stake in privately-owned Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Corp (SZRCB) for 5.29 billion yuan (US$814.3 million), marking the Southeast Asian lender’s biggest acquisition in China.

DBS said in a statement on Tuesday (Apr 20) that it had received approvals from China’s banking and insurance regulator and Singapore’s central bank for the investment, part of its plan to accelerate its expansion in China’s Greater Bay Area.

Southeast Asia’s biggest bank said its fully-owned subsidiary will buy 1.35 billion new shares in SZRCB for 3.91 yuan each, enabling it to become the largest shareholder.

The investment “strategically positions DBS well to increase its stake in SZRCB given liberalisation of the financial services sector in China,” Singapore-based DBS said.

SZRCB operates one of the largest bank branch networks in Shenzhen, where 210 of its 217 branches are located.

With more than 5 million active retail customers and over 170,000 active corporate clients, it had S$82 billion of deposits at the end of last year.

In September, DBS received approval from China’s securities regulator to form a joint venture securities company in which it would have a controlling stake, allowing it to offer broking and securities underwriting services.

Reuters exclusively reported on Tuesday that DBS was among a clutch of banks looking to bid for parts of Citigroup’s consumer business in Asia.

Source: Reuters