RBS £53m Pakistan unit sale collapses

THE £53m sale of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Pakistan unit to Muslim Commercial Bank has fallen through, the beleaguered bank confirmed yesterday.

The bank, which is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer, said the deal had collapsed because it had not obtained the necessary regulatory approvals by the 31 December deadline. MCB announced on 1 January that the sale was off. It later emerged that Pakistan’s central bank in Karachi had refused to back the deal following disagreements over MCB’s decision to use shares as security.

In August, RBS agreed to sell its 99.4 per cent stake in the business to MCB, as part of efforts to focus on core UK operations. It will continue to look for a buyer for the subsidiary.

In February, RBS announced plans to pull out of Asia, claiming that its retail and commercial banking operations had insufficient presence in the region. It then sold assets in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam to Australian lender ANZ in August.

However, RBS made a strong start to New Year trading yesterday following a rating upgrade to “outperform” from Exane BNP Paribas analysts.