Standard Bank is acquiring ING’s Argentine operation, subject to South African and Argentine regulatory approval.

If successful, Standard will upgrade its office in Buenos Aires to a fully licensed bank and increase its staff complement to close on 40. The bank has subsequently received several approaches to increase its participation in the Argentine banking sector.

Standard Bank is also leading a consortium to possibly acquire Bank of America’s BankBoston Argentina branch.

Discussions are at an early stage and any agreement is not likely to be finalised until the end of 2005. It would also be subject to a due diligence exercise and all necessary regulatory approvals, in particular that of the South African Reserve Bank.

A further announcement would be made if and when discussions culminated in a binding agreement.