LONDON, - Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks with three banks interested in buying its Asian retail and commercial banking assets as it pulls back to core markets, a person familiar with the matter said.
The three banks are HSBC Holdings, Standard Chartered and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, the person said on Wednesday, declining to be named as the process is confidential.
Those three banks have all been considering bids for some time, separate sources have previously told Reuters. The head of Standard Chartered's Asian operations said last week it had submitted its interest.
Indicative offers were due in by April 1.
Binding bids are due in May, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.
RBS, which is 70-percent owned by the UK government, is retrenching to its core businesses and plans to exit or shrink in up to 36 of the countries where it operates.
The assets include operations in India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Taiwan and could fetch about $2 billion, sources have said.
RBS has said it wants to sell the Asian assets as a regional business, which would be a quicker and more certain process than a series of country sales.
Separate bids will be made for its Pakistan business, which is separately listed.
Three local companies -- Jahangir Siddiqui, Habib Bank and MCB Bank -- have said they are interested, and international banks are also expected to consider a move.
RBS Pakistan has a market value of about $266 million.
Edinburgh-based RBS acquired many of its Asian operations as part of its ill-fated takeover of parts of Dutch bank ABN AMRO in 2007. RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester is reversing a 10-year acquisitive strategy by his predecessor, Fred Goodwin.
Morgan Stanley (MS.N), which is advising RBS on the Asia sales, declined to comment.
RBS declined to comment.
Hester told shareholders two weeks ago he had seen good levels of interest in the assets. (Editing by Douwe Miedema and Andrew Macdonald)