China's banks start to samba with Petrobras deal

09/14/2010 11:55 am EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

Another sign of how fast the global financial markets are changing.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (IDCBY.PK) will be one of the investment banks running the book for the $32 billion share offering of Petrobras (PBR).

This will be the first time a Chinese investment bank has had a key role in a major share issue outside of the markets in mainland China or Hong Kong.

The list of investment banks on the deal is a long one: HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Banco Santander, Banco Itau, Banco Bradesco—and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. (Banco Itau and Banco Bradesco are the two largest banks in Brazil.)

If I were trying to sell a $32 billon stock offering I’d put together a long list that covers most of the world. But I wouldn’t include a Chinese bank since, so far, China’s investment banks can’t sell a share offering like this to its domestic clients. Industrial and Commercial Bank doesn’t bring enough to the game to make this list on its distribution clout.

But Beijing is determined that its banks will become global players. Last year, China did a deal to exchange $10 billion in cheap loans for a guaranteed oil supply from Brazil. I’d see the inclusion of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on this list a result of that deal.

And as a recognition of the deepening financial and trade ties between China and Brazil.
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