RBS India, China biz sale to StanChart likely next mnth

Written by Agencies | Updated: Aug 27 2009, 03:30am hrs
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the biggest bank owned by the UK government, may sell its units in India and China to Standard Chartered Plc as soon as next month, a person familiar with the situation said.

The retail and commercial banking assets are valued at $300 million to $400 million, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are confidential. An official at Standard Chartered in London declined to comment.

RBS is in ongoing discussions with bidders for the remaining assets it has decided to sell in Asia and will make further announcements, as appropriate, in due course, said Fiona MacRae, an Edinburgh-based spokeswoman for RBS.

However, there have been reports that the deals have hit hurdles,

The Financial Times recently said. The sale of RBSs assets in China has faltered and has a 30% chance of success because more of the RBS customers than Standard Chartered expected are locked into specific products, making it harder to shift them to alternatives, the Financial Times added.

However another report in Wall Street Journal said The Royal Bank of Scotlands effort to complete the sale of its Asian business, including in India and China, is facing some hurdles and could fetch a smaller than expected price. Attributing to people familiar with the matter, WSJ said RBSs effort to complete the sale of its Asian assets has hit some snags and could mean lesser price than the UK-controlled bank has expected.

Quoting people close to the matter, the report said, The problems involve talks with UK bank Standard Chartered Plc over commercial and retail businesses in China and India.

According to people close to the matter, the daily noted,Both parties still hope to reach an agreement. RBS had hoped to wrap up the talks by mid-summer. The assets in China and India are valued in the low hundreds of millions of pounds, the report said attributing to people familiar with the deal. This means RBS could fall short of selling all the Asian assets at their initial valuation of 1 billion to 1.5 billion.

The report said discussions for the Indian businesses have encountered some roadblocks because of the difficulties surrounding licensing agreements in that country, as well as

Standard Chartereds concern about some risky, unsecured loan portfolios it could inherit. RBS is reducing its presence or withdrawing from two thirds of the 54 countries in which it does business after posting the biggest loss in UK corporate history last year and receiving government funding.