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RBS Divests Its Aircraft Leasing Arm

Japanese Bank Outbids Chinese, Wells Fargo

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is getting out of the aviation leasing business. Bloomberg reports RBS will get about $7.3 billion for a division which currently controls a fleet of 206 aircraft, and has 87 more on order for delivery through 2015. The sale is expected to be complete by the end of this year's third quarter.

The buyer is another bank, Japan's second-largest, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc., which had reportedly been competing with the China Development Bank Corp. and Wells Fargo. The acquisition is said to be a strategy to counter slowing growth in the Japanese domestic market.

The divestiture by RBS is part of a recent move to reduce its non-core holdings by more than $160 billion, or over 60 percent. The bank also cut 4,800 jobs in the process, and has seen its share price rise 23 percent since the first of the year. Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital in Liverpool, tells Bloomberg the non-core assets "were long-term assets which aren’t particularly liquid, which meant RBS had to hold quite a bit of capital against them."

FMI: www.rbs.co.uk ; www.smfg.co.jp/english

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