(Releads on interest in insurance business, adds comments from
chief financial and risk officer)
AMSTERDAM Aug 28 SNS Reaal, the Dutch financial
services group nationalised last year, said international and
domestic parties had expressed interest in its insurance
operations which will go up for sale in September.
The comments came as the financial services group, which was
bailed out for $14 billion last year, reported that it narrowed
losses in the first half of 2014.
The sale of its insurance business, which has been rebranded
as Vivant, is part of a strategy to transform SNS Reaal into a
stand-alone bank under the terms of the emergency state cash
injection that averted bankruptcy.
The group posted a net loss of 125 million euros ($165
million), due mainly to provisions in its insurance operations,
it said in a statement on Thursday. A one-off provision of 269
million euros was made to meet asset liability requirements.
SNS Reaal lost 1.59 billion euros in the same period a year
earlier after massive writedowns in its property division,
Property Finance, the assets of which have since been
ring-fenced and are no longer part of the group.
Maurice Oostendorp, the group's chief financial and risk
officer, told reporters in a conference call that "there is wide
domestic and international interest from financial and strategic
parties" to buy the insurance business.
He did not comment on media reports in recent days that
Delta Lloyd, a smaller Dutch insurer, is interested in acquiring
For the remainder of 2014, SNS said it expected continued
low interest rates and "difficult market conditions".
"That combination means the result in the second half of the
year will remain under pressure," Oostendorp said.
The group's banking division has completed "intense"
consultations with the European Central Bank as part of its
Asset Quality Review and, in anticipation of possibly stricter
European criteria, it has taken into account "possibly higher
provisions in the second half", Oostendorp said.
In recent months the group has focused on separating its
banking and insurance activities. It is expected to sell its
insurance division in the coming year.
"We expect to take the final steps in this process in the
course of 2015. Furthermore, we have taken important steps in
preparing for the sale of the insurance activities," it said.
Net profit at SNS Bank fell by nearly half in the six-month
period - to 114 million euros, from 218 million euros in the
same period last year, it said.
(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Clarke and