French/Belgian private equity group BlackFin Capital Partners is to acquire the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Luxembourg-domiciled funds business for an undisclosed sum, as the British bank looks to focus more on its UK operations.
In a statement, RBS, which is73 per cent owned by the British taxpayer since it was bailed out after the financial crisis, said the deal was subject to the approval of the Luxembourg regulator, and is expected to complete in the fourth quarter.
BlackFin has offices in Paris and Brussels and specialises in investments in the financial services sector.
One press report of the sale cited an unidentified person “familiar with the situation” as saying that the sale of RBSL, as the operation has been known, had been agreed “at a significant premium to book value”.
RBS has been looking to shrink in size, as it seeks to become profitable again, and recoup some of the money spent on keeping it afloat.
BlackFin president Laurent Bouyoux said his company was looking to “capitalise on RBSL’s assets — a highly qualified team, a strong platform and a proven business model — to seize the growth opportunities arising in the asset management industry”.
“BlackFin’s ambition is to position RBSL, for the long term, as the leading European player in its market.”
RBSL is primarily an independent custodian of fund assets on behalf of other companies. At the end of 2014 it had about £20bn in assets under administration. One of its largest clients is said to be the European subsidiary of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
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