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RBC to sell Eastern Caribbean bank operations in consortium deal

Royal Bank of Canada said Dec. 12 that it has agreed to sell all banking operations it owns in the Eastern Caribbean to a consortium of five local banks.

The consortium consists of 1st National Bank St. Lucia Ltd., Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., Bank of Montserrat Ltd and Bank of Nevis Ltd.

The deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, includes the Canadian bank's branches in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis; it also includes the regional businesses operating under RBC Royal Bank (EC) Holdings Ltd. in Nevis, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

RBC said it expects to close the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, in the coming months.

The deal marks the latest Caribbean pullback by a major Canadian bank as stronger aversion to regulatory, economic and climate risks take hold; both Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce recently divested much of their own operations in the region.