LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings is selling its half stake in the South Korean insurance firm Hana HSBC Life Insurance Co to its partner in the venture, the 52nd deal it has struck as part of a global retreat from peripheral businesses in the past two years.
Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver wants to cut $3.5 billion in annual costs and make HSBC less complex, and has been unwinding many deals or exiting countries and businesses where it is unprofitable or lacks critical mass.
HSBC did not disclose financial details of the deal, but it paid $58 million pounds for the stake of 50 percent minus one share when it signed the joint venture with Hana Financial Group in March 2008.
It said on Monday it was selling the stake back to Hana, one of South Korea’s largest financial firms.
Many of its sales have reversed what had been a broad expansion into insurance. Last week HSBC sold its general insurance business in Macau, and it has also sold a minority stake in Chinese insurer Ping An for $9.4 billion.
Hana HSBC Life had gross assets of about $2.5 billion at the end of last year and HSBC said the deal should complete on May 10.
The bank said it remained committed to the Korean market and continued to invest in developing its investment banking business there.