Following recent speculation, it has now been announced that Barclays Bank will be selling its UAE retail banking division. This is in the wake of a company wide strategic review.
It is understood that this review focussed on two main issues; not only if the division made an adequate return, but also whether it fitted well with the bank’s long term global plans. It is understood that the retail division is profitable, but not by a large amount so it can only be assumed that the bank decided that it should focus on more profitable areas of business.
In a statement, Barclays said: “Following a strategic review, Barclays has decided to re-focus its efforts in the UAE on its key strengths in corporate and investment banking and wealth & investment management. Barclays reaffirms its commitment to the UAE and the MENA region.”
The bank will start discussions for the sale of the retail arm immediately and we believe that the sale is expected to complete before the end of 2014. So far there has been no comment regarding potential buyers.
This move in the UAE is part of a global review and the bank is expected to axe 3,700 jobs globally, with up to 280 employees to be affected in this region.
With the takeover of the UAE retail arm of Lloyds TSB by HSBC, options for using UK banks, or at least their UAE based subsidiaries are reducing, so it’ll be interesting to see who is the eventual buyer.