Greece's NBG hires Goldman, Morgan Stanley on sale of insurance unit: sources

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s second largest lender National Bank (NBG) has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as advisors on the sale of a stake in its insurance subsidiary National Insurance, banking sources close to the procedure said on Thursday.

Founded in 1891 National Insurance is the oldest insurer in Greece and is fully owned by NBG. A provider of life and non-life insurance products, it had a 16.6 percent share of the market last year with net profit of 98 million euros.

The sought sale is part of NBG’s restructuring plan to exit from non-banking operations and focus on core banking, agreed with banking regulators.

“Goldman and Morgan Stanley will explore interest in the unit from potential buyers,” one of the sources told Reuters, declining to be named.

An NBG spokesman would not confirm or deny the plan.

Late last year peer Eurobank, the country’s third largest lender, agreed to sell an 80 percent stake in its insurance subsidiary Eurolife to Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings for 316 million euros ($334.80 million).

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Mediobanca advised Eurobank on the transaction.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alexandra Hudson