Wuxi, China: Britain could start selling its 83% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) next year, a senior company executive said on Monday.
RBS Asia Pacific chief executive John McCormick also told Reuters at an event to mark the launch of its joint venture brokerage in China, the bank is aiming for a bigger pie in the booming Asian business.
“You can see America and Europe have gone flat and you can see Asia increasing. We want to become a bigger part of the bigger pie,” McCormick said.
When asked about when Britain would sell its stake in RBS, he said: “I suspect it will be in 2012.” He added the move would likely depend on the bank’s share price.
The British government ended up with stakes of 83% in RBS and around 40% in rival Lloyds after bailing out both banks with billions of pounds worth of taxpayers’ money during the credit crisis.
The Sunday Telegraph, citing sources close to the process, reported earlier in the month that Britain may start selling its stake in RBS as early as the first half of 2012, targeted at institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and Asia.
McCormick also said he expects Asia to account for one fifth of its global wholesale and investment banking revenue in five years, up from 14% currently.
RBS has disposed of its retail banking business in Asia to focus on its core markets in the United States and Europe.
In China, RBS transferred its retail banking business to Singapore’s DBS Group last year, but has preserved its wholesale and corporate banking businesses including a commercial lender, a trust venture and a futures brokerage venture.