The planned asset sales were first announced back in October as part of a bailout plan that would see Dexia broken up and its local-government lending arm merged into a new structure with French state-backed investors.
Regarding Dexia Asset Management, the process will be launched in a very small number of weeks...We have picked an advisory bank, Pierre Mariani said in an interview. We have received over thirty (expressions of interest).
The CEO refused to comment on the reported pull-out of Britain's HSBC
NO ALTERNATIVE TO BREAK-UP
Talks to create a new local-government lending structure with French state bank Caisse des Depots and government-owned Banque Postale are ongoing and there is no alternative on the table, Mariani said.
Asked whether there was any truth to reports of a straightforward nationalisation of Dexia's French operations rather than a break-up, the CEO said that he was unaware of any alternative to the October plan under discussion.
It is on this (October) plan that we are working and that is what we are putting into action...I have no knowledge of any other proposal at this time, he said.
He warned however that finding a solution was urgent given the funding crunch looming for local governments in 2012.
There is around 45 percent to 65 percent in local-government funding needs for 2012 that are unlikely to be provided by the banking sector, he said. (It's) an extremely brutal tightening.
Mariani added there were no discussions underway to cut jobs at the bank's French operations, even at a time when banks across Europe are slashing staff in the face of the euro zone debt crisis.
(Additional reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Christian Plumb)