France’s Credit Agricole still interested in selling stake in Spanish Bankinter

French banking group Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) views the stake it owns in Spanish peer Bankinter SA (MCE:BKT) as non-strategic and it is still considering all options regarding a further sale of Bankinter shares, CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet told a news conference on Tuesday.

According to Chifflet, Credit Agricole has recently cut its stake in the Spanish bank below the 20% threshold, but has made no decision as to the rest of the Bankinter holding.

However, Chifflet added that the Bankinter stake is among several non-strategic foreign investments that his bank plans to lower.

In an interview published by French newspaper Les Echos in December 2011, Credit Agricole’s chief executive said his company remained open to all options regarding its Bankinter interest. The stake the French bank holds in Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo SA (ELI:BES) was also mentioned by Chifflet as a potential target for sale.

Bankinter is the parent of domestic financial group Grupo Bankinter, which also includes financial firms Bankinter Gestion de Activos SGIIC, Bankinter Seguros Generales SA de Seguros y Reaseguros, Hispamarket SA, Intermobiliaria SA, Bankinter Consumer Finance EFC SA, Bankinter Capital Riesgo SGECR SA, Bankinter Sociedad de Financiacion SA and Relanza Gestion SA.

As of 31 December 2011, the bank’s main shareholder was Madrid-based Cartival SA with a stake of 23.91%.

London-listed Standard Chartered cleared to acquire Credit Agricole’s Turkish operation

The Turkish Competition Board has cleared British lender Standard Chartered Plc (LON:STAN) to buy Credit Agricole Yatirim Bankasi Turk AS, a unit of French banking group Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA), the regulator said on Monday on its website.

According to the statement, Standard Chartered has secured approval for the acquisition of the entire Credit Agricole Yatirim Bankasi Turk. It gave no details about the financial terms of the deal.

The target company, active since 1990, had assets of TRY74.9m (USD42m/EUR34m) at the end of last year. The Turkish bank provides corporate and investment banking services.

Standard Chartered is being investigated by the the New York Department of Financial Services over alleged improper transactions with Iran and scheduled a hearing on the matter for Wednesday.

According to Reuters sources cited today, Standard Chartered, which disagrees with these claims, is working to settle the charges before the hearing.

Analysts told the news agency last week that the US authorities could impose a fine of as much as USD1bn (EUR812m) on Standard Chartered, with rumours saying that the sum could even be higher than that, as the New York banking regulator is pushing the case.

Benjamin Lawsky, the head of the New York’s Department of Financial Services, said the bank could lose its licence unless it offers a satisfactory explanation at its upcoming hearing, Reuters said.

For more on Standard Chartered’s acquisitions, please click here.

For more on the US investigation of Standard Chartered, please click here.

Kepler in exclusive talks to acquire Credit Agricole Cheuvreux

The corporate and investment banking unit of French lender Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) has entered into exclusive talks to sell its Credit Agricole Cheuvreux (CA Cheuvreux) subsidiary to local financial services firm Kepler Capital Markets.

The transaction being negotiated will involve the merger of CA Cheuvreux into Kepler, a move that will form Europe’s leading independent brokerage, called Kepler Cheuvreux, the parties announced. The enlarged entity will have the biggest presence in European equity research, covering around 650 stocks.

The companies believe that the new group will be “unrivalled” in the scope of its corporate access offer and will include the biggest sales force on the continent. It is expected to have presence in 11 European financial centres and solid position in North America.

This new company will have Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Banking (CA CIB) as a partner and strategic stockholder as well as an equity capital markets (ECM) cooperation with Italy’s UniCredit SpA (BIT:UCG).

Through the strategic alliance, CA CIB will be able to offer its corporate clients the benefits of highly-ranked research and a distribution platform to more than 1,200 institutional investors around the world for ECM transactions.

UniCredit’s deputy general manager Jean-Pierre Mustier welcomed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), saying that the company will be open to acquiring a minority interest in Kepler Cheuvreux while exploring an ECM collaboration with CA CIB.

The parties did not reveal the terms of the transaction they are currently discussing.