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    Citigroup eyes to end its German banking business

    Hurriyet English with wires
    17.05.2008 - 15:38 | Son Güncelleme:

    Citigroup is looking to sell its German retail banking operations as part of the radical steps being taken by Vikram Pandit, chief executive, to scale back his company’s operations in the wake of the credit crisis, Financial Times reported on Saturday.

    The sale is expected to attract interest from domestic rivals as well as international banks keen for a foothold in the country, by economists. The sale will also make Citi the first bank to withdraw from an important territory in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.


    Citigroup is exploring ``a variety of options for our retail banking business in Germany,'' Bjoern Korschinowski, a spokesman for Dusseldorf-based Citibank Privatkunden AG, said in a statement on Friday.


    As part of CEO Vikram Pandit’s review of Citi's various businesses around the world, the company is "a variety of options for our retail banking business in Germany, the most profitable in terms of return on equity over the last ten years in this market," the statement said. "No decisions have been made at this time."


    Last week, Pandit said at a conference with investors that the bank - struggling to return to profitability after getting slammed by losing bets on mortgages - aims to shed between $400 billion and $500 billion of "non-core" assets over the next three years. Citigroup currently has $2.2 trillion in assets.


    A person familiar with Citigroup’s decision-making process, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said Friday that Citi’s retail bank in Germany - Citibank Privatkunden AG & Co. KgaA - is indeed regarded as a "core" asset of Citigroup, said AFP on Saturday.


    But the person said the business is being seen as a sale opportunity because "banks in Germany and elsewhere" have expressed interest in buying it, AFP said.


    The company emphasized in its statement that it is not considering selling its corporate and investment banking operations in Germany.

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