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KBC Group Abandons Private Equity Business Sale

KBC Group, a Belgium-based financial services firm, has called off the sale of its private equity business, as the market value of the business was too low, reported Reuters.

AXA Private Equity and Sofina, a Belgium-based investment group were reported to be jointly bidding for KBC’s private equity unit, which has a portfolio of about EUR350m and employs 30 people.

KBC had agreed to sell the unit as part of a restructuring deal struck with the European Commission to offset EUR7bn in state bailout package it received during the financial crisis.

While accepting the state support, KBC agreed with the European Commission to bring down its risk-weighted assets by EUR39bn between 2008 and 2013, mainly through trimming its capital market activities and international corporate lending.

KBC already agreed to part with KBL European Private Bankers to the Hinduja Group, Centea, a Belgian network of self-employed banking agents and broker-based Belgian insurance unit Fidea, as part of the same restructure.

By selling its private banking business to UK-based Hinduja Group for EUR1.35bn in May 2010, it had cut EUR17bn or 44% of the target.

KBS has also decided to partially list Czech bank CSOB on the Prague Stock Exchange.

KBC said that it would now manage its private equity portfolio itself.