Possible bidders eye insurance arm of HSBC

GERMAN life insurer Allianz and French giant AXA are among potential bidders for HSBC’s non-life insurance division, which could fetch more than $1bn (£640.7m) when sold, sources said yesterday.

HSBC has sent out information memorandums to potential bidders for the sale of its non-life insurance business, as its chief executive Stuart Gulliver streamlines the bank to cut $3.5bn from its annual costs.

Australian insurer QBE, China’s PICC Property & Casualty and Tokio Marine Holdings are the other companies likely to be interested in the auction, sources added.

The first round bids for what is expected to be a competitive auction handled by HSBC’s investment banking arm are due in mid-October.

HSBC in May announced plans to sell non-core businesses, including its network of 475 US bank branches and the sale of several European retail banking businesses.

HSBC is selling non-life insurance operations in Hong Kong, Singapore, some Latin American countries and France. It has already sold its non-life business in the UK.

HSBC yesterday agreed to sell its Chilean retail bank to Brazilian bank Itau. The arm had assets of $20m.