ZURICH Oct 31 Zurich Insurance is in
advanced talks to buy Australian Wesfarmers' A$2
billion ($1.90 billion)insurance business, the Australian
Financial Review said on Thursday, citing sources.
According to the newspaper report, Zurich has started due
diligence on Australia's No. 5 general insurance company.
Zurich Insurance declined to comment on the report.
Wesfarmers could not be reached for comment.
Zurich Insurance, which set up in Australia in 1961, has
about 1,220 employees there.
The vast majority of Wesfarmers Insurance 3,600 staff are in
Australia. It also has offices in New Zealand and Britain.
The Wesfarmers' divison is valued at between A$1.8 billion
and A$2.6 billion, AFR said.
Its annual report says that operating revenue for the
financial year ending June 2013 was A$2.1 billion while
operating revenue for the group was A$59.8 billion.
($1 = 1.0537 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Additional reporting by Oliver
Hirt and Caroline Copley in Zurich and Jane Wardell in Sydney;
Editing by Louise Ireland)