Merci but no grazie: Barclays scraps French and Italian sale
BARCLAYS has called off talks over the sale of its French and Italian businesses.
The bank has decided against a sale and aims to improve the profitability of the two arms as it continues to shake up or dispose of the parts of its business that do not meet its minimum level for return on capital.
HSBC and La Banque Postale had been looking at Barclays’ retail banking business in France, Les Echos reported earlier this month, and Barclays had been in advanced talks for several months with a potential buyer.
Talks over the sale of its Italian retail business had not progressed as far. There has been speculation for several years that Barclays could sell its Italian business, mainly in the north of the country, but the number of potential buyers is limited.
Now Barclays is believed to be looking at ways to reduce costs in Italy and France, although it has not yet taken a decision on job cuts.
Barclays’ European retail and business banking made a pre-tax loss of £661m last year, after a £168m loss in 2010, hit by bad loans in Spain.
Barclays declined to comment.