RBS Agrees Sale and Leaseback of 62 Branches

LONDON (Reuters) - The Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L said on Sunday it had entered agreements to sell and lease back 62 of its branches, despite fears the sluggish commercial property market was closed to deals.

A spokesman said the bank had agreed the sale to Telereal, an investment vehicle controlled by the Pears family, and to Pruprim, the property investment arm of UK insurer Prudential Plc PRU.L.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the properties, in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Jersey, were worth 800 million pounds ($1.6 billion).

The spokesman said the sales did not undermine the bank’s commitment not to close branches but would not confirm their value.

Industry sources said the bank is still in talks to sell other property assets worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Problems in international credit markets in recent months have dented confidence in the commercial property market which has been buoyed in recent years by easy access to cheap debt.

Editing by Richard Hubbard