StanChart lines up for Barclays’ Indian assets

STANDARD Chartered and SBI Card are competing to buy Barclays’ India credit cards business, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, as the British bank looks to reduce its exposure to unsecured lending in the country.

Barclays has about 200,000 card holders in India and the book value of the business is roughly 2bn rupees (£36.5m), the sources said yesterday.

Final bids for the Barclays credit cards business in India are expected early next month and the deal is likely to be closed in a month, they said, adding the deal value could be at a “small premium” to the book value.

Barclays put its Indian cards unit up for sale earlier this year as part of a restructuring of its business in the country.

“We are reviewing options for cards, a business which requires scale and we may be able to achieve that scale under new ownership,” a Barclays India spokesman said, without giving details.

UK-based rival Standard Chartered, which has about 1.2m card holders in India, and SBI Card, a joint venture between the country’s top lender State Bank of India and GE Capital, declined to comment.