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July 5, 2019updated 18 Jul 2019 2:25pm

Societe Generale eyes sale of Kleinwort Hambros

French banking group Societe Generale is planning the sale of its UK private banking arm Kleinwort Hambros, Bloomberg has reported.

The bank is said to be working alongside Rothschild & Co on the matter and already approached potential buyers.

Both Rothschild & Co or Kleinwort Hambros declined to comment on the sale. Bloomberg cited “people with knowledge of the matter.”

Separately, speaking to PBI, senior figures at Kleinwort Hambros said that the two-year integration of the British bank with Societe Generale was near completion.

“We are completing the last of the integration, which is the IT systems”, Kleinwort Hambros CEO, John Maitland, told PBI earlier this week.

The integration of the bank, formed following Societe Generale’s acquisition of Kleinwort Benson from Oddo & Cie and its merger with Societe Generale Private Banking Hambros in 2016, is expected to be wrapped up around October.

Following the completion of the merger, Maitland said Kleinwort Hambros plans to capture much more of the UK market. “There are huge opportunities in the UK for us”, Maitland said. 

Kleinwort Hambros currently has a presence in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey as well as Gibraltar. It oversaw nearly €14bn in assets at the end of 2018.

Lately, Societe Generale has divested various businesses that it considers to be non-core assets, following a poor performance of the overall group. Its share price is down by nearly a third since the start of the year.

At the same time, the bank plans to trim its workforce by nearly 1,600. The aim is to reduce annual expenses by around €500m.

This February, the bank sold its Belgian private banking unit to ABN Amro.

In the first quarter of 2019, the asset and wealth management business line of Societe Generale reported a net banking income of €255m.

Assets under management in Private Banking totalled €113bn at the end of the quarter.



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