RBS to sell Middle East M&A business

City A.M. Reporter
Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks to sell its mergers and acquisitions business in the Middle East and cut some jobs as part of a global restructuring at the UK bank, its regional head said on Monday.

Simon Penney, RBS' chief executive for Middle East and Africa, told Reuters the bank would focus on debt products, risk management and transactional banking.

"We'll be selling our M&A business in the region but everything else remains the same," Penney said, adding that "less than five people will be leaving" as a result.

"It is a global decision to exit cash equities and M&A. We had some pretty good mandates live and we'll see all deals closing. We will honour all client obligations but we won't be originating any new business," he said.

RBS, 83 percent owned by the UK government, said last month it was working on four M&A deals in the region including Saudi Arabia-based Aujan Industries sale of a 50 per cent stake to The Coca-Cola Company for $980m (£639m).

"There will be a limited impact in so far we won't be generating M&A revenues from the region but with a regional team of 220 people, we will make sure nothing changes," Penney said.

Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier that the bank could complete the sale in coming months with close to five interested parties already eyeing the business.

Penney declined to comment on possible buyers of the business or on the time frame to close the deal.

The move is part of a global shake up in which RBS plans to cut another 4,450 jobs bowing to pressure from the government.

Tom Emmet, RBS' managing director and head of corporate finance and equity capital markets for the region, will leave as part of the shake up, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.