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RBS Said to Hold Talks With Yes Bank for Sale of Assets in India

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Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, held an initial round of talks with Yes Bank Ltd. for selling its assets in India, said two people with knowledge of the discussions.

A final decision regarding the sale to Mumbai-based Yes Bank hasn’t been taken, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the matter is confidential. RBS has about 190 million pounds ($305 million) of assets in India, with 31 branches and 400,000 customers, the Edinburgh-based lender said in a Nov. 30 statement.

RBS is in discussions with other lenders as well and is also open to shutting down the operations in the South Asian country, one of the people said. The talks with Yes Bank were reported earlier today by the Business Standard newspaper. Pooja Sehgal, a New Delhi-based spokeswoman for RBS, and George Koshy, the Mumbai-based spokesman for Yes Bank, declined to comment.

Shares of Yes Bank rose 2.8 percent to a record 520.5 rupees as of 11:16 a.m. in Mumbai trading today, making it the best performer on the Bankex Index, which tracks the stocks of 14 Indian lenders.

A proposed sale of the assets to HSBC Holdings Plc for an undisclosed amount collapsed last year, RBS said on Nov. 30. That transaction had been initially announced in July 2010.

The lender has since also held talks to sell the operations to IndusInd Bank Ltd., two people with knowledge of the matter said. The Mumbai-based lender is unlikely to bid for the asset because of the valuation, one of the people said, without disclosing the price.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anto Antony in Mumbai at aantony1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net