Insurer Delta Lloyd sells Belgian bank to China's Anbang

By Reuters

Dec 16, 2014 09:40 AM EST

Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd NV (DLL.AS) has agreed to sell its Belgian banking operations to China's privately-held Anbang Insurance Group for 219 million euros ($273 million).

The sale, announced on Tuesday, comes just two months after Delta Lloyd said it had scrapped plans to dispose of the unit, after talks with another potential buyer collapsed.

With managed assets of roughly 7.7 billion euros ($9.6 billion), Delta Lloyd Bank Belgium focuses primarily on the middle and high-end market, serving 171,000 customers out of 55 branches.

Delta Lloyd, which aims to be one of the top three life insurers in Belgium, will continue to use the bank network as a distribution channel for insurance and pension products.

Delta Lloyd's chief executive, Niek Hoek, said the sale, expected to close in 2015 pending regulatory approval, would "strengthen the group's focus on insurance and unlock capital for investment in our strategic activities."

The Dutch insurance sector, with six major competitors, is ripe for consolidation after a wave of bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis, many of which required financial giants to dispose of insurance activities.

Delta Lloyd has been named in Dutch media reports as a bidder for the insurance operations of rival SNS Reaal, which is slated to be sold under the terms of an emergency government capital injection.

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