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18 April 2024

StanChart eyes RBS stake in Saudi lender: Report

By Agencies


Standard Chartered Bank is considering buying Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) 40 per cent stake in Saudi Hollandi Bank in a bid to enter the world's largest oil exporter, a magazine reported.


Standard Chartered said last year it was in talks to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, and had applied for a banking license.


The London-listed bank was looking at buying into Saudi Hollandi "after being told by the Saudi central bank that it will not issue it with its own full license," Middle East Economic Digest reported in its Friday edition, citing a source close to the sale.


The latest market close valued Saudi Hollandi at around $3.8 billion (Dh13.95 billion) ranking it eighth among Saudi listed banks based on market value, according to Reuters data.


"Standard Chartered wants its own brand in Saudi Arabia, but (the central bank) is reluctant to award any more commercial banking licenses," the source said, according to the London-based weekly magazine.


"So it is looking at Saudi Hollandi as an option," the source said.


RBS took control of the Hollandi stake when it acquired Dutch bank ABN Amro last year.


ABN had been looking to sell the Hollandi stake, National Bank of Kuwait's Chief Executive Ibrahim Dabdoub said in 2006.


A Saudi-based source says RBS was "prepared to accept whichever bidder" the central bank recommended in order to achieve a quick sale, MEED reported. (Reuters)