Santander mulls selling Spanish insurance arm: report

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's largest bank, Santander, is in talks to sell 51 percent of its insurance activities in the country, worth an estimated three billion euros ($4.3 billion) in total, a newspaper said Tuesday.

Italian insurer Generali and France's AXA were among the candidates "with sufficient financial capacity to take on this activity", business daily Expansion said.

A Santander spokesman declined to comment on the story.

According to the paper, Santander had originally decided to sell its insurance business in Spain in 2008 but the global financial crisis caused it to put off the plan.

Last month Santander reached a deal to sell 51 percent of the Spanish bank's insurance and pension business in Latin America to Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services for $1.67 billion.

The two companies also signed a 25-year strategic distribution agreement, giving Zurich access to Santander's network of 5,600 branches and an additional 36 million customers in the region.

Santander's net profit dropped 8.5 percent from the previous year to 8.2 billion euros in 2010.

© 2011 AFP

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