Goldman launches ICBC selldown of about $1 billion - source

HONG KONG Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:59am EST

A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs (GS.N) launched a sale of about $1 billion worth of Hong Kong-traded shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (1398.HK) on Monday, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

Goldman, looking to reduce further its stake in the world's largest bank, offered the shares in ICBC at HK$5.77 each, equivalent to a discount of 3 percent to Monday's close of HK$5.95, added the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The U.S. bank has held a stake in ICBC since 2006.

The sale would be Goldman's second in less than a year, after the New York-based investment bank raised $2.5 billion from a partial selldown of ICBC in April of 2012, most of which was bought by Singapore state investor Temasek TEM.UL.

The sale last year was part of an effort by Goldman to derisk, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said at the time. The deal left Goldman with a stake valued at about $2 billion in April last year.

Shares of ICBC have gained about 18 percent since the previous Goldman sale, in line with the performance of the Hang Seng Financial Index .HSHFI.

(Reporting by Michael Flaherty and Elzio Barreto; Editing by Robert Birsel and Hans-Juergen Peters)

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