NZ's Tower sells life insurance arm to Fidelity

WELLINGTON Thu May 9, 2013 4:43pm EDT

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WELLINGTON May 10 (Reuters) - New Zealand insurance company Tower Ltd has sold most of its life insurance business to Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited in a deal worth around NZ$189 million ($159.54 million), as Tower seeks to focus on general insurance products.

Tower, the nation's second-largest health insurer, will sell most of its non-participating life insurance policies and retain the capital currently held against those policies. It will also retain its participating book and other run-off life insurance assets.

"We determined that now was a good time to maximise value to TOWER shareholders by selling this part of the life business," Tower Group managing director Rob Flannagan said in a statement.

"Going forward, we will be concentrating on growing shareholder value by developing and growing our specialist general insurance business."

The announcement comes after Tower sold its investment arm to Fisher Funds for NZ$79 million in February.

Formerly operating as one company in New Zealand and Australia, Tower split into separate listed companies in November 2006, as the two companies followed different business strategies.

($1 = 1.1846 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu)

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