Citibank in Turkish unit talks with Lebanon's Audi

ISTANBUL Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:39am EST

ISTANBUL Dec 10 (Reuters) - Citigroup is in talks with Lebanon's Audi Bank on the sale of its consumer banking unit in Turkey, part of the U.S.-based bank's plan to rationalise its global businesses, senior banking sources said.

Audi's Turkish unit Odeabank is interested in acquiring Citibank A.S.'s branches to expand in one of Europe's fastest-growing economies, a top Turkish banking executive with knowledge of the talks told Reuters late last week.

Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank, said last week it would cut 11,000 jobs worldwide to save as much as $1.1 billion a year in costs and that the plan included selling or cutting back its consumer operations in Turkey.

Newspaper Vatan said on Monday HSBC, which already operates HSBC A.S., a major bank in Turkey with 333 branches, is also interested in Citibank's Turkish branches.

Besides Citibank AS, the New York-based lender also owns a 10 percent stake in Akbank, Turkey's third-biggest non-state lender.

Citibank has not said it plans to sell its remaining Akbank stake.

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