* Concludes final part of deal announced back in July
* Marks further retreat from Agricole's international
* French bank also sells Turkish asset to StanChart
(Adds detail, background, analyst comment)
HONG KONG/PARIS, Nov 5 French lender Credit
Agricole sealed the $1.25 billion sale of Asian
brokerage CLSA to China's CITIC Securities on Monday,
marking another pullback from its international business in the
wake of the euro zone crisis.
The two-part deal, first announced in July when CITIC bought
19.9 percent of CLSA and pledged to buy the rest within months,
should close around mid-2013 but must still be approved by
regulators, Credit Agricole and CITIC said in a joint statement.
There was little detail on how much of a capital gain Credit
Agricole might reap from the sale. Analysts have estimated that
the deal will give a boost to the French bank's solvency ratios
via the cash inflow and slimming down of its balance sheet.
"The numbers are the same as previously announced, but at
least the timing came in sooner than expected," a Paris-based
bank analyst said. CITIC had until mid-2013 to exercise its
option to buy the remaining 80 percent of CLSA for $942 million.
The news comes after a wave of international cutbacks by
French banks, which profited from cheap debt during the boom
times to build empires abroad. Credit Agricole and rival Societe
Generale both sold their Greek units last month in a
bid to stem losses in the recession-wracked euro economy.
Credit Agricole also said on Monday it had sold its Turkish
investment-bank subsidiary to Standard Chartered, an
Asia-focused bank based in London. StanChart refused to disclose
the price paid but said it would take on 15 staff in the deal.
CLSA, which employs 1,500 people across 20 cities in Asia as
well as in the UK and the United States, was acquired by Credit
Agricole in 2003 when the bank took over collapsed lender Credit
The sale brings Credit Agricole a step closer to exiting the
brokerage business almost entirely.
The bank is trying to return to its retail-banking roots
under new management after the 2008 financial crisis and is also
in talks to sell European broker Cheuvreux to Paris-based Kepler
Banks across Europe are under pressure to sell assets and
exit business lines to meet new Basel III rules designed to
crack down on risk. Switzerland's UBS recently
announced 10,000 staff cuts and a plan to exit fixed-income.
The Cheuvreux deal, which is likely to be finalised by early
2013 after an initial estimate of November 2012, has led Credit
Agricole to plan several hundred job cuts at the broker before
the sale, sources told Reuters last month.
(Reporting by Kelvin Soh in Hong Kong and Lionel Laurent in
Paris; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)