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Emirates NBD Eyes RBS Retail Assets In UAE

Emirates NBD plans to acquire the retail banking assets of Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) in the UAE, reported Bloomberg citing Sanjay Uppal, CFO of the bank.

Reportedly, RBS had acquired the UAE retail banking unit after a group including Banco Santander and Fortis purchased ABN Amro Holding for about $98.5bn in 2007.

The retail banking assets include branches, ATM network and wealth management clients.

RBS is selling the retail banking operations as part of a strategy to part with some of the non core businesses, including in Asia.

Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD, said: “We are looking at that option positively. We have not yet made the bid, but I don’t want to rule out the possibility.”

Karim Beg, head of consumer finance and marketing at RBS, said: “RBS is in ongoing discussions for the remaining retail and SME assets it has decided to sell in Asia, and we will not be making any further comment at this stage,” reported Emirates Business 24/7.

Other UAE-based banks including Mashreq are said to be in race to acquire the retail banking operations. Simon Penney, CEO for the Middle East and Africa at RBS, said that RBS would reveal the buyer details in April or May 2010.