HONG KONG, June 17 RSA Insurance Group Ltd
, Britain's largest non-life insurer, is looking to sell
its Asian operations in an auction that could fetch up to $500
million and draw a wide range of suitors, people familiar with
the sale process told Reuters.
The sale is part of a group-wide restructuring led by 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
Insurers considering bids include Sompo Japan Insurance, a
unit of NKSJ Holdings Inc as well as France's AXA
, the people said. Australia's QBE Insurance Group Ltd
and German insurer Allianz SE are also
weighing their options, they added.
RSA, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs Group,
is expected to kick off the sale process in the coming weeks,
one of the people said.
RSA declined to comment, as did Allianz, QBE and Sompo
Japan. AXA said it takes an extremely disciplined approach to
examining acquisition opportunities but did not specifically
Goldman Sachs also declined to comment.
In Asia, 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 core markets, such as the
United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia.
($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Additional reporting by Taiga
Uranaka in Tokyo, Byron Kaye in Sydney and Christopher Vellacott
in London; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)