Brazilian Itaú Unibanco has signed an exclusive negotiation agreement in relation to offload its high-risk insurance unit, as part of a strategy to cut down on non-core business and use the proceedings to boost banking operations.

"Negotiations are at an advanced stage and on the understanding that the questions still pending are settled, Itaú Unibanco expects to be able to sign a conclusive agreement with the potential acquirer in the next few days," the retail bank said.

Itaú’s major risk insurance unit specializes in offering coverage for giant corporate projects in high-risk segments such as oil and gas and infrastructure. It is believed that the deal may fetch nearly BRL1bn ($450m) for the Brazilian bank.

The company is expected to retain its retail and personal insurance business, as they provide more stable revenues and higher returns compared to the high-risk insurance segment.

In January this year, Itaú informed BM&FBOVESPA S.A. Securities, Commodities and Futures Exchange about plans to sell its major risk insurance operation.