Credit Agricole, France’s second-largest bank by assets, agreed to sell its private equity unit to Coller Capital for an undisclosed sum to boost capital.
The sale of Credit Agricole Private Equity will reduce the lender’s risk-weighted assets by about €900 million ($1.2 billion), the company said in statement Friday.
“Credit Agricole SA’s decision to sell CAPE forms part of a plan to optimize capital allocation and refocus the bank’s private equity activities on local business,” the bank said in the statement. The lender said it expects approval for the sale to Coller in the first quarter of 2012.
Credit Agricole, based near Paris, follows lenders including Citigroup, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and BNP Paribas in seeking to sell holdings in leveraged-buyout funds as banks are forced by regulators to hold more capital in reserve against their riskiest assets.
Coller, based in London, is raising a $5 billion secondary fund to buy stakes in private equity funds from investors willing to reduce their commitments. It bought about €500 million of stakes in buyout funds from Credit Agricole’s investment banking unit earlier this year, three people with knowledge of the matter said in March.