Loss-making Swiss bank EFG International is in talks with potential buyers for all or part of its French business and hopes to float its structured investment products business later this year, it said on Wednesday, as part of its radical overhaul.
The bank said EFG Financial Products has been earmarked for an initial public share offering, with EFG International set to reduce its stake to about 20 per cent from 57 per cent currently. “The objective is to accomplish this during 2012, while recognising that timing will be subject to market conditions,” the bank said.
EFG also said it had closed its Abu Dhabi office last month and is set to shut Dubai in June, and that it had slashed the number of client relationship officers — private bankers — to 567 at the end of 2011, from 675 a year earlier.
It also closed offices in Canada, is winding down EFG Bank AB in Sweden after selling off its asset management and non-banking businesses there, and closing its operations in Helsinki. EFG said it has identified numerous other closures and prospective sales of offices and businesses.
New chief executive John Williamson moved quickly after taking over last year from Lonnie Howell to fight the impact of the strong Swiss franc and begin a restructuring which effectively reverses much of the bank’s recent expansion.