May 2, 2013 / 2:51 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Portugal kicks off CGD insurance arm privatisation

(Adds intention to sell in one block, quote, background)

LISBON, May 2 (Reuters) - The Portuguese government gave the go-ahead on Thursday for the privatisation of the insurance arm of state-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD), to be completed by the end of the year.

Caixa Seguros is Portugal’s biggest insurer with a 30-percent market share, and its sale is part of a series of privatisations demanded as a condition of the country’s EU/IMF bailout.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Luis Marques Guedes said all four of CGD’s insurance units would will be sold, preferrably in a single block to a large investor or a bidding consortium.

“The government does not rule out a public offer on capital markets,” he added at a briefing.

Last year, CGD sold its healthcare unit for 86 million euros ($113 million).

Portugal has won praise from EU partners for the speed and scale of its privatisation drive.

It has already met its bailout target to raise 5.5 billion euros by the of 2013 after pocketing more than 6.4 billion euros from selling stakes in power firms EDP and REN , as well as in airport operator ANA last year.

Portugal is still expected to privatise the national postal service CTT, flag carrier TAP, the cargo unit of the national railway company Comboios de Portugal and parts of water utility Aguas de Portugal.

$1 = 0.7580 euros Reporting by Sergio Goncalves, Writing by Andrei Khalip and Daniel Alvarenga; Editing by Mark Potter

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