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CMNE to acquire Citigroup Belgian retail business

US-based financial services firm Citigroup is selling its Belgian retail operations to French bank Credit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) for an undisclosed price as part of its strategy to unload risky assets.

The takeover also includes Citibank Belgium’s consumer-credit and credit-card businesses.

CMNE already owns Belgian banking unit Groupe du BKCP and said that the acquisition will also allow the firm to expand its product range and double its client base.

CMNE director general Eric Charpentier said the acquisition is in lieu with the group’s strategy of expansion in northern France and Belgium, which is considered as their second domestic market.

The deal which is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approval that is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

Citigroup began its operations in Belgium since 1919, and currently has more than 500,000 clients and holds 17% market share in consumer loans and 10% shares in credit-card business.

Citigroup said that the sale has reduced the assets within Citi Holdings by more than $582bn since 2008’s first quarter. The bank is also in talks with buyers for the sale of OneMain Financial, which is its consumer finance business.