April 17 Private equity firms Bain Capital and
Carlyle Group are among first round bidders for Standard
Chartered's Hong Kong consumer finance unit, a business
valued at up to $700 million, people familiar with the matter
Orix Corp, one of Japan's largest financial
services conglomerates, and some Chinese non-bank finance
companies also placed bids this week, they added.
A short-list of bidders is expected in the next few weeks,
the people said, declining to be identified as the bidding
process is confidential.
The sale of PrimeCredit is expected to be the first of
several sales of non-core businesses by Standard Chartered as it
seeks to boost shareholder returns and braces for slower profit
growth after a decade of earnings expansion that ended in 2013.
Sources have previously said the deal could fetch between
$500 million and $700 million, earning a tidy profit for the
Asia-focused lender as it bought PrimeCredit a decade ago for
$126 million. PrimeCredit specialises in high-interest loans for
consumers with little credit history.
Representatives for Carlyle and Orix, declined to comment.
Bain did not offer immediate comment.
A Standard Chartered spokesman said the bank is exploring
strategic options for the consumer finance business but no
formal decision has been made.
Having ridden the wave of cheap credit that poured into
emerging markets for the past decade, Standard Chartered is now
slimming down as foreign money pulls out. It also cut 2,000 jobs
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar in Singapore and Stephen Aldred in
Hong Kong. Additional reporting by Emi Emoto in Tokyo.; Editing
by Denny Thomas and Edwina Gibbs)