Barclays to sell its credit cards business in Portugal and Spain to Bancopopular-e
The Barclaycard sale that is subject to regulatory approval is expected to be completed by the end of 2016Reuters

Barclays is one step closer to exiting its non-core businesses in continental Europe. On 28 April, the British bank said it has agreed to sell Barclaycard, its credit card business in Portugal and Spain, to local lender Bancopopular-e.

Jes Staley, chief executive at Barclays said: "I am delighted by the speed with which we are continuing to reduce our non-core exposure and costs. Our credit card operation in Spain and Portugal is a very good business with a highly talented and dedicated work force but no longer fits with our strategic ambitions."

The sale of Barclaycard, which has assets worth £1bn (€1.29bn, $1.46bn), is expected to benefit the British bank as it would reduce its adjusted assets by £900m. A Barclays spokeswoman added that another benefit would be the reduction of £70m worth of annual costs. The sale process will, however, not affect Barclays's investment banking business in the country.

Buyer Bancopopular-e, as part of the deal, would gain Barclaycard's 800,000 customers and around 500 employees, the spokeswoman said. While the exact sale value was not revealed by Barclays, it said it was "at a small premium to gross receivables."

Bancopopular-e is a Spanish online bank. About 49% of it is owned by Banco Popular Espanol, the fourth largest banking group in Spain and the remaining 51% is owned by Varde Partners, an American private equity fund. The sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The deal follows the bank's 27 April announcement that it was in talks to sell its French retail business to AnaCap Financial Partners, the specialist private equity firm focused on investing in the European financial services sector. Staley had said that the completion of this deal would mean that Barclays has largely exited its operations from continental Europe.