RBS Branch-Bidder W&G Investments Set to Go Public Tomorrow
W&G Investments Plc, an investment vehicle preparing to bid for 316 Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc outlets, plans to go public in London tomorrow.
Led by former Tesco Plc (TSCO) Finance Director Andy Higginson, the firm will raise an initial 15 million pounds ($23 million) through the share sale, according to company filings. W&G’s backers include money managers Schroders Plc (SDR), Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd. and Lansdowne Partners Ltd.
The firm is raising the money to finance the initial due diligence stages of its bid for the RBS branches. W&G said it expects to offer about 1.1 billion pounds in cash for the outlets and a further 400 million pounds depending on the performance of the business.
RBS is under pressure to sell the outlets by 2014 to comply with European Union state-aid rules after receiving a 45.5 billion-pound taxpayer bailout. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester, who steps down next month, said this month that while the Edinburgh-based lender would prefer to sell the branches in an initial public offering, it was open to offers.
Officials at W&G Investments and RBS declined to comment.
The RBS branches on sale have about 21.5 billion pounds in customer deposits and serve about 2 million small businesses and consumers. They generated 305 million pounds in operating profit in 2012, about 10 percent of RBS’s annual total.
After Banco Santander SA (SAN), Spain’s biggest bank, abandoned its 1.7 billion-pound planned purchase of the branches in October, RBS signaled to the European Commission that it may seek an extension to the branch-sale deadline, though it hasn’t formally asked for one yet.
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