Barclays Plc is conducting a strategic review of its retail banking operations in the United Arab Emirates which could lead to a sale of the business, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Barclays, Britain’s third-largest bank, confirmed on Tuesday that it was holding a review of the retail business in the UAE but did not provide any further comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.
The review, conducted internally, is still at a preliminary stage and no decision has been made on the outcome of the study, the sources said. No outside consultants or financial advisers have yet been hired to find potential buyers, they said.
Barclays’ retail banking operations in the UAE include its personal banking, lending and mortgage services and a credit card business. The bank has between 500 and 1,000 staff in retail banking but most are outsourced employees and not part of the bank’s direct payroll, one banking source said.
The bank’s corporate banking, private banking and investment banking activities in the UAE are not part of the review, according to the sources. In the Middle East, Barclays has retail banking operations in Egypt aside from the UAE.
The review also does not encompass the bank’s Egyptian retail operation, which is a much larger and profitable business than in the UAE, according to the sources.