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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Big Standard Chartered stake sold
Standard Chartered branch in Singapore
Standard Chartered is well placed for Asian expansion, says Temasek
A Singapore state-owned private investment firm has become the biggest shareholder in Standard Chartered.

Temasek Holdings has bought an 11.55% stake in the London-based bank worth an estimated $4bn (2.3bn) from the estate of billionaire Khoo Teck Puat.

Analysts said the move would lessen the chances of Standard Chartered being targeted by a takeover approach.

Rumours had suggested that Barclays or JP Morgan would buy Mr Khoo's stake as a platform for a full takeover.

Mr Khoo, a reclusive Singaporean banker and hotelier, was Standard Chartered's largest single shareholder when he died at the age of 87.

His estate had been expected to sell his stake since his death in 2004.

'Well positioned'

A joint statement from Temasek and Mr Khoo's estate announced the sale of the 152.4 million share stake, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

Temasek added that the buy was part of its "ongoing efforts of achieving a balanced portfolio", noting that Standard Chartered was well-positioned to make the most of economic growth in Asia.

Earlier in March, the UK bank posted a 19% rise in pre-tax profits to $2.68bn (1.53bn), thanks partly to the acquisition of South Korea's First Bank.

Temasek recently hit the headlines as a result of a political scandal in Thailand, sparked when it took control of telecom firm Shin Corp .

The company bought a block of shares from the country's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for $1.9bn .

Mr Thaksin has denied any wrongdoing, saying the shares sold belonged to his children and other relatives.

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