French in talks on Charterhouse

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The Independent Online
AN OVERSEAS sale of the Charterhouse merchant banking group moved nearer yesterday when its owner, Royal Bank of Scotland, confirmed that negotiations with Credit Commercial de France were at an advanced stage.

A spokesman said: 'We are at the stage of detailed negotiations with a consortium led by CCF.'

But Royal made it clear that there were other possible candidates to buy Charterhouse, which is a medium-sized merchant bank in the City of London. Royal has already announced that Charterhouse is for sale.

'They have made an offer but there is no target time,' the spokesman said. 'We have never been in a hurry to sell the bank.'

He would not say who else was involved in the consortium, whether Charterhouse would be kept intact if the bid succeeded or how much the bank was worth.

Analysts believe that Charterhouse might be worth about pounds 200m on the basis of net assets of pounds 180m.

Royal's confirmation of negotiations led to confusion in the City as CCF immediately denied that it was to buy Charterhouse and Royal itself appeared to back away from its earlier confirmation.

A formal statement later issued by Royal did not include the name of CCF or any other party.

It said: 'Discussions have taken place in recent months and continue to take place with a number of interested parties, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for all or part of the capital of Charterhouse.'