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Co-operative Bank approached by number of “credible” buyers

The Co-operative Bank has been approached by a number of “credible” potential buyers since it went up for sale last month, reports say.

The bank reported a £477 million loss in 2016, its fifth annual loss in a row.

It was put up for sale after it failed to satisfy the Bank of England’s (BoE) regulatory requirements. The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority said it had placed the Co-op bank under “intensive supervision”.

The Co-op blamed low interest rates and the higher-than-expected cost of its turnaround plan.

“A number of credible strategic and financial parties have expressed interest in the sale process and are currently evaluating information on the bank,” it said in a statement issued on Friday.

“The bank has requested that preliminary expressions of interest should be submitted in the first half of April.”

The bank’s board said its ethical standpoint – along with its four million customers – made it “a strong franchise with significant potential” to prospective buyers.

Part-owned by the Co-operative Group, the bank is estimated to be worth around £750 million.

Following April’s deadline, Co-op said it would hold a second bidding round “where selected parties will be provided with additional information in order to continue their due diligence with a view to making an offer for all of the issued ordinary share capital of the bank”.

It warned that “there can be no certainty” an offer will be made.

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