DBS was among banks that submitted first-round offers for
Coutts International this month, the people said, asking not to
be named as the details are private. A potential bid with
Societe Generale, if successful, would see the Singapore lender
take over Coutts International’s Asian operations while the
French bank would assume the rest of the business, one person
Southeast Asia’s biggest lender has been pursuing
acquisitions to expand in private banking as the ranks of
wealthy in the region increase. DBS completed the $220 million
purchase of Societe Generale SA (GLE)’s Asian wealth-management
business in October, boosting its assets under management to
S$88 billion ($67 billion).
Coutts International could fetch $600 million to $900
million, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.
DBS spokeswoman Edna Koh and Jolyon Barthorpe, a spokesman for
Societe Generale in Paris, declined to comment.
RBS said in a memo in August that it was examining options
including a sale of Coutts’s overseas business, as it shifts its
focus to wealthy clients in the U.K. Chief Executive Ross McEwan
is eliminating thousands of jobs and cutting about 1 billion
pounds ($1.6 billion) in costs as he seeks to reverse six
straight annual losses.
Coutts International had 32.6 billion Swiss francs ($33.2
billion) of assets under management at the end of 2013. RBS
isn’t selling the U.K. arm of Coutts, which counts Queen
Elizabeth II among its customers. The private bank has roots in
1692, before the Bank of England was founded.
Last updated : 14 Sep 2019
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