UPDATE 1-RSA Insurance sells China business for 71 mln pounds

Thu Jul 3, 2014 4:23am EDT

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(Adds details, quote from statement)

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - RSA Insurance Group Plc has reached an agreement to sell its business in China for 71 million pounds ($119 million), one of several smaller asset sales aimed at shoring up the British company's finances.

The sale to Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is expected to result in a gain on the sale and an addition to the company's tangible net assets of about 26 million pounds, RSA said. The transaction adds to recently announced disposals in the Baltics, Poland and Canada.

"We are continuing to evaluate further non-core disposals, some of which we expect to agree during 2014," Hester said in a statement.

RSA is restructuring under new Chief Executive Stephen Hester after losses caused by extreme weather and accounting irregularities at its Irish division hit its finances and prompted the departure of several senior executives.

Britain's largest non-life insurer underwrites both commercial and personal insurance risks in China.

RSA has businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and India but those operations contributed less than 2 percent to net premiums in the first quarter of 2014. That has encouraged the company to focus on its bigger markets such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. ($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds) (Reporting by Nishant Kumar; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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