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Citigroup will sell Citibank Privatkunden AG for $7.7bn

Financial newsBanking giant Citigroup Inc. says it will sell its German retail banking operation and some of its affiliates to France's Credit Mutuel, in $7.7 billion cash deal.

In a statement released Friday, Citigroup said the deal includes its Duesseldorf-based Citibank Privatkunden AG & Co. KGaA, along with some affiliates. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter provided regulatory approvals are granted.

Citibank Germany earned $573.3 million in 2007 and had net assets of $1.5 billion. Citigroup said the deal would result in a post-tax gain of $4 billion when it closes. Credit Mutuel said the deal "affirms its European development strategy, particularly in retail banking, insurance and international financial services."

The acquisition also extends its expansion in the past decade into Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Cooperatively owned, Credit Mutuel is France's second largest retail bank with nearly 15 million customers and more than 5 000 branches.

In 2007, it earned $4.3 billion on sales of $16.6 billion. It also owns France's CIC corporate and investment bank. Citigroup has been trying to return to profitability after two straight quarters of losses, brought on by huge missteps in the mortgage market. One of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit's goals is to improve the computer systems and communication throughout the bank. The decision to sell its German unit was the result of those goals, he said.

"This is another strategic step in our effort to reorganize Citi, strengthen our balance sheet, and put us squarely on the path to future growth driven by our core businesses," Pandit said in a statement. "In Germany, our talented corporate and investment banking teams remain central to our strategy and we're committed to maintaining their leadership position in this market."

The bank added that it remained "strongly committed to its remaining German businesses, including its full service corporate and investment banking business and its European data center, which is the biggest Citi data center outside the United States."

Source: CNN
Date: 06.12.2008 [210]

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