Standard Chartered Bank has taken control of Venezuela's Banco Exterior de los Andes y de Espana (Extebandes), in a US$165 million deal aimed at giving it a pan-Latin American presence. In a move after HSBC Holdings' Latin American expansion, Standard has taken a 67.3 per cent stake in Extebandes, and did not rule out increasing its position. Venezuelan privatisation agency Fondo de Inversiones holds the remaining stock, although it is understood to be a long-term shareholder. Standard said its purchase of the bank resulted from the growing trade and correspondent banking links between Latin America and Asia. 'It is the right opportunity on the right scale. The purchase of Extebandes will allow us to gain greater understanding of the Latin American markets and will provide a platform for future growth,' Standard chief executive Malcolm Williamson said. Standard said its stake was purchased at 1.8 times net asset value, and had been built up after buying out Banco Exterior de Espana, Banco de la Nacion of Peru, Bancafe of Colombia, Central Bank of Ecuador and the Republic of Bolivia. It will boost Standard's regional presence through Extebandes' 11 branches in Colombia, five in Peru, three in Venezeula and one in Grand Cayman, adding to Standard's offices in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru.