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RBS winding down distressed debt unit, sources say -Bloomberg

(Reuters) - State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is shuttering a distressed-debt unit as it continues to shrink its investment bank, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

However, an RBS spokeswoman told Reuters that the lender was merely scaling back the division, not shutting it down.

"We are materially reducing our special situations desk," the spokeswoman said, adding that RBS had already announced as much in May.

Distressed debt involves the purchase of the debt of companies in or near bankruptcy at a deep discount.

RBS has been shrinking its investment banking and international operations, giving in to demands from politicians that it focus on lending to British households and businesses, sources told Reuters in February.

(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumaker)