Novo Banco starts sale of life insurance unit

LISBON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Novo Banco has formally launched the sale process of life insurance unit GNB Seguros Vida, one of the country’s biggest insurers with assets of more than 5 billion euros, Novo Banco said on Tuesday.

Portuguese authorities are in the final phase of selling Novo Banco, which was carved out of the collapse of Banco Espirito Santo in 2014, to U.S. fund Lone Star.

“Novo Banco has formally started the process of contacts to sell its GNB insurer to ensure an exclusive, long-term distribution contract,” a Novo Banco spokesman confirmed to Reuters.

The sales process is being advised by consultancy Deloitte.

Novo Banco has a network of 475 branches through which GNB life assurance would still be distributed.

At the end of 2016 GNB was the ninth largest life insurer in Portugal, in terms of premiums.

Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Axel Bugge