BNP Paribas Weighs Sale of Eastern Europe Assets to Raise Cash
(Bloomberg) -- BNP Paribas SA is considering a sale of its consumer finance business in some central and eastern European countries as it continues to streamline its portfolio to raise cash, according to people familiar with the matter.
The French bank is working to gauge buyer interest for its BNP Paribas Personal Finance operations in markets including Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic, the people said. A sale could value the assets at more than $500 million, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Deliberations are in the early stages and no final decisions have been taken, according to the people. BNP Paribas could still decide against a sale, they said. A representative for BNP Paribas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
BNP Paribas Personal Finance has a presence in 30 countries and counts more than 20 million clients, according to its website. Its services include credit, savings and insurance products.
Earlier this month, the French lender joined European peers in pledging higher profitability and bigger shareholder returns, despite a surge in costs that’s plaguing the industry. Led by Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, the Paris-based bank has vowed to return 60% of profit to shareholders.
In December, BNP Paribas agreed to sell San Francisco-based Bank of the West to Bank of Montreal for $16.3 billion.
Shares in BNP Paribas have risen 48% in the last 12 months, giving the bank a market value of 82.3 billion euros ($94.4 billion).
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