Majid Al Futtaim, which is situated in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is looking at a number of possibilities for its credit card business, including taking on partners to help with the management of unsecured credit card risk, according to Reuters.
The company operates the Middle East franchise of the French retailer Carrefour.
Slow growth in the Dubai economy due to a sluggish worldwide trend and downturn in the real estate market has resulted in white collar jobs being hit.
This in turn has led to a decrease in consumer spending.
The holding company also owns and operates shopping centres in the Middle East and North Africa and recently hired Moelis & Co to advise and help with the management of the partial selling off of its Najm credit cards.
Moelis & Co is an investment bank based in the US.
If a transaction does follow, Majid Al Futtaim will keep the data aspect of the credit card programme as well as its loyalty programme.
However, the loan portfolio would be acquired by the banks.
Majid Al Futtaim says that it is continuing with the exploration and evaluation of any opportunities that will help its business to continue to develop sustainable growth.
In a statement, the company said that its consumer finance business is evolving in order to meet its customers’ changing requirements and increased demand for the business’s products.
The statement added that the company believes that there are strong opportunities for growth in consumer finance and that it fully intends to leverage it for the benefit of partners and customers alike.
UAE lenders First Abu Dhabi Bank and Mashreq Bank are on the shortlist for bidders for the credit card business, as is Citigroup, a lender based in the US.
The business is currently valued at $200m to $250m, according to anonymous sources.
Mashreq Bank and the First Abu Dhabi Bank were unavailable to comment, while Citigroup declined to make any statement on the potential buyout.
The move would assist Majid Al Futtaim with bringing in a new partner that has expertise with credit risk management while maintaining its hold on customer data and loyalty.
The deal could also be of assistance with potentially outsourcing some back office and IT work, sources say.
Najm offers customers a wide array of different credit card options that have a variety of benefits.
These benefits include the likes of cashback, premium rewards and easy payment plans.
As much as 4% cashback is offered with every purchase on the Najm Blue Card, the Najm Gold Card and the Najm Silver Card.
The Najm Platinum Card also offers cashback and provides PremiumRewards points with all purchases.
Those points are able to be redeemed for hotels, purchases of certain brands, theme parks, airline tickets or VOX cinema tickets in the UAE.
Najm One credit card holders are also offered additional facilities such as more than 450 discounted merchant offers and free access to airport lounges.