Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which is preparing what is expected to be a world record US$19 billion IPO, is looking to acquire a small bank in Indonesia, the Wall Street Journal reported. A spokesman for Indonesia's central bank confirmed Wednesday that ICBC was interested in a takeover of PT Bank Halim Indonesia, based in the port city of Surabaya. Other sources claimed the Chinese bank had been working on the deal for two years, in what is seen as part of a long-term strategy to become a force in Southeast Asia. Indonesian regulators, keen to see consolidation in the country's banking sector, are thought likely to support the move. China Construction Bank was the first of the state lenders to make an overseas acquisition with the purchase of Bank of America's Hong Kong and Macau branches for US$1.2 billion in August. ICBC issued its IPO prospectus Wednesday, confirming that shares – due to be issued simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai – will start trading on October 27.
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