Standard Bank has finalised its acquisition of BankBoston Argentina, enabling the Standard Bank Group to further extend its footprint in the South American market. The newly merged bank has opened for business under the Standard Bank brand.

Standard Bank Argentina’s existing corporate and investment banking operations will be integrated with those of BankBoston Argentina, giving Standard Bank Argentina a capital base of about US$225mn.

Eduardo Spangenberg, previously the chief operating officer and chief risk officer of BankBoston Argentina, has been appointed chief executive officer of Standard Bank Argentina. He will be supported by an executive team with substantial experience in the Argentine market. Standard Bank Argentina will report into Peter Wharton-Hood, Standard Bank’s chief executive, personal and business banking.

Says Wharton-Hood: “We are delighted that the acquisition has been finalised and look forward to doing business in this exciting market. This acquisition should be seen as part of Standard Bank’s emerging market expansion strategy. We want to position ourselves as a key emerging markets player in select markets internationally and in Africa.”

Standard Bank’s initial shareholding in the merged Standard Bank Argentina will be 76.7%. The balance of the shareholding will be held via a holding company by Standard Bank’s Argentine partners, the Werthein and Sielecki families, who hold options to acquire further shares to increase their shareholding over time to 30%.

BankBoston Argentina, with assets of about US$2bn, offers both personal and business banking and corporate and investment banking services and products in Buenos Aires province and a number of regional centres in Argentina, through a network of 87 branches. It has approximately 2,800 employees and a customer base of about 740,000 individual customers and 20,000 corporate, commercial and small business customers.

The acquisition of BankBoston Argentina will not have a significant impact on the financial performance of Standard Bank in the short term, claims the bank.