RBS chief may have to open door to private equity firms

Royal Bank of Scotland’s auction of its insurance business does not appear to be going to plan.

This week RBS extended the deadline for indicative bids after Generali, the Italian insurer, pulled out of the race, and seculation that Chinese insurer Ping An’s interest was waning. Allianz and AIG are also thought to be losing interest.

All this is not good news for Sir Fred Goodwin, RBS’s chief executive, who shut out private equity buyers from the first round of the auction owing to concerns about private equity’s ability to raise the money. Now it seems Goodwin may have to let the buy-out firms into the bidding if the trade buyers’ interest in the RBS Insurance is as cool as it appears.