National Processing Inc. said it has retained Salomon Smith Barney Inc. to explore the sale of three of the company's businesses.

National Processing, which is 88%-owned by National City Corp. of Cleveland, is exploring the sale of its freight payables, payables outsourcing, and remittance businesses. They contribute about 20% of National Processing's revenues, or about $70 million.

National Processing earned $3.4 million in the third quarter, 56% less than in the same period a year earlier. National Processing contributes about 2% of National City's earnings.

"I think there's been strategic assessment of the entire company as well as business lines," said Joseph Duwan, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. "Some of the businesses are considered nonstrategic with low profitability potential."

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