ICBC Standard aborts plan to shut base metals unit

SINGAPORE/LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - ICBC Standard Bank has abandoned proposals to shut its base metals business and instead plans to merge it with the precious metals unit to cut costs, the bank told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The bank, a joint venture between Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Africa’s largest lender Standard Bank, is a major participant in base metals markets globally.

It is restructuring after posting a net loss of almost $130 million in first-half 2019 and in early November mooted the idea of cutting jobs and shutting its base metals trading and equities businesses.

Reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore and Pratima Desai in London; Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne, Mai Nguyen in Singapore and Cheng Leng in Beijing; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Edmund Blair