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RBS to face unexpected divestments

A RADICAL restructuring of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland due to be unveiled today will include unplanned disposals, the bank admitted for the first time yesterday, amid speculation it could be forced to sell off some of its most profitable assets.<br /><br />The European Commission is today expected to detail divestments it expects RBS and Lloyds Banking Group to make as part of an inquiry into competition in the sector. The announcement will coincide with details from the Treasury on the status of the two banks&rsquo; participation in its toxic loan insurance plan, the asset protection scheme (APS).<br /><br />RBS yesterday said it would be forced to make &ldquo;some divestments not initially contemplated&rdquo;, adding that its goal is to ensure any such changes would not threaten the existing recovery plan it has put in place.<br /><br />EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has earmarked 312 RBS branches in England and NatWest branches in Scotland for sale under the Williams &amp; Glyn banking name, along with the bank&rsquo;s insurance arm &ndash; including the Churchill, Green Flag and Direct Line brands. Other divisions at risk include RBS&rsquo;s commodity joint venture, RBS Sempra, and its US retail bank arm, Citizens.<br /><br />Lloyds will sell off its TSB bank, Cheltenham &amp; Gloucester and internet bank Intelligent Finance.<br /><br />The Treasury is expected to confirm that RBS will pump &pound;270bn of risky loans into the APS, shouldering as much as the first &pound;60bn of losses. <br /><br />It will also reveal the terms of Lloyds&rsquo; APS exit, under which the bank will raise &pound;13bn in a rights issue and &pound;7.5bn in contingent capital. Lloyds will also pay a break fee of around &pound;2.5bn to the government, which will retain its 43 per cent shareholding.