(Recasts, adds Standard Bank comment)
JOHANNESBURG Aug 16 South African retailer
Foschini Group said on Friday it had received an
unsolicited offer for its majority stake in a consumer finance
joint venture it has with Standard Bank
Foschini, a $2.2 billion retailer of clothing, jewellery and
furniture, said in a regulatory statement a potential bidder had
expressed interest in acquiring all of the unit called RCS.
Foschini owns 55 percent of RCS, while Standard Bank,
Africa's largest lender, holds the remaining 45 percent.
Foschini did not give any details about the bidder or the
bid. Foschini had said in June it was looking to reduce its
stake in the unit to below 50 percent, either through a separate
listing or a sale.
A spokesman for Standard Bank said: "We became aware today
of an unsolicited expression of interest in RCS. We have seen no
RCS employees more than 850 people and provides consumer
loans, insurance and store credit cards.
Standard Bank and its rivals have ramped up lending to
consumers over the past year, to offset weak credit demand from
Barclays Africa Group, formerly called Absa Group,
last year paid $1.2 billion for the store credit card business
of unlisted retailer Edcon, to increase its presence in the
high-margin consumer lending market.
But banks in Africa's largest economy have also been hit
with higher bad debts as consumers struggle to pay back loans.
Standard Bank on Thursday posted an 11 percent rise in
first-half earnings, although bad debt charges soared by 28
Shares of Foschini Group climbed 3.5 percent to 100.80 rand,
while Standard Bank was up 0.7 percent at 114.70 rand at 1447
(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Jon Herskovitz)