KARACHI? Habib Bank Ltd. KSE symbol (HBL) and MCB Bank (MCB) both have separately said they are interested in buying Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) operations in Pakistan.
In a notice to the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE), Habib Bank said it “will soon start due diligence of Royal Bank of Scotland’s operations after seeking regulatory approvals from the State Bank of Pakistan.”
Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB Bank) also told the KSE Karachi stock exchange that it will approach the central bank for approval.
Analysts said the successful bidder would get access to RBS’s clients in Pakistan, which are spread across 80 branches in 24 cities. RBS has taken over this clientel from ABN Amro Bank Pakistan which it took over last year.
“In case Habib Bank buys Royal Bank of Scotland’s operations, the entity will become the number one bank in terms of deposits and assets, surpassing National Bank of Pakistan,” said Mohammad Sohail, a Karachi-based independent economist.
Habib Bank is currently the second-largest Pakistani lender by assets, followed by MCB Bank.
As of December 2008, RBS had deposits worth PKR79 billion and outstanding loans worth PKR68 billion.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) ?had in February announced a three- to five-year plan to dispose of non-core assets. It had identified its Asia assets as well as a number of businesses related to the loss-making global banking and markets unit for sale.