The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Royal Bank of Scot­land Group Plc is close to dis­pos­ing of its Rus­sian bank­ing as­sets to a lo­cal len­der, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

RBS will prob­a­bly agree terms of the sale with the undis­closed bank within the com­ing weeks, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the de­tails are pri­vate. The Ed­in­burgh-based len­der had 1.6 bil­lion pounds ($2.5 bil­lion) of Rus­sian as­sets at the end of June, com­pany fil­ings show. Com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Franklin Tem­ple­ton In­vest­ments and BNP Paribas SA are pulling Rus­sian in­vest­ments as pro­longed sanc­tions deepen the coun­try's first re­ces­sion since 2009.

RBS ac­quired the busi­ness as part of its pur­chase of ABN Amro in 2007, just be­fore the fi­nan­cial cri­sis forced it into a bailout. "We are ex­plor­ing sale or wind-down op­tions for our oper­a­tions in Rus­sia," a RBS spokesman said in an e-mailed state­ment on Tues­day. The changes are part of ef­forts to be­come a "sim­pler, stronger and more sus­tain­able bank, more aligned to the needs of our cus­tomers in the U.K. and western Europe."

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