By Nicolas Parasie & Stanley Carvalho
Edinburgh based bank is exiting several business as part of a strategic plan.
Three UAE lenders are interested in buying Royal Bank of Scotland's retail operations in the UAE, three banking sources said, as the banks seek to strengthen their domestic business. The banks which expressed interest were Dubai based lenders Emirates NBD and Mashreq, as well as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the three bankers said, all declining to be named.
Edinburgh based RBS, owned by the UK government, is exiting several businesses across the globe where it is not market leader, as part of a strategic plan announced in 2009.
The bank still considers the UAE as a regional hub in terms of investment and private banking.
The bank is expected to announce the winning bid for its UAE retail banking operations by May, one banker said.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for RBS said: "There is an ongoing sale process with some potential candidates."
Emirates NBD was not immediately available to comment, while ADCB and Mashreq declined to comment.
Emirates NBD, ADCB and RBS are all part of a seven member committee that has been leading the debt negotiations between state conglomerate Dubai World and its creditors.
A senior banker, familiar with the matter, said: "ADCB has shown interest. It makes sense because it is strongly focused on the UAE without expanding abroad."
ADCB's CEO Ala'a Eraiqat declined to comment on Tuesday when asked if the bank was considering buying RBS' assets in the UAE.
The retail operations of RBS consist of three branches, an ATM network and a wealth management business.
Another person familiar with the process said: "It is a very small operation, it would be better housed with a bank that has a strong regional presence." (Reuters)