UK insurance company Royal & SunAlliance has agreed to sell its 21.5% shareholding in financial services company Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG to Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited, ending a 200-year association.

Jardine, the Hong Kong-headquartered subsidiary of Jardine Matheson, will acquire 20% and the Rothschilds Continuation Holdings Employee Share Trust will acquire the remaining 1.5%.

Jardine will pay Royal & Sun GBP101 million for its share. The trust will acquire its portion for GBP7.2 million. However, the 2005 final dividend, yet to be declared, will be paid to Royal & Sun. The pre tax gain on the disposal will be approximately GBP60 million and will be treated as an exceptional item outside of the Operating Result in the management basis income statement, the seller revealed in a release.

In explaining the move Royal & Sun said that its Rothchilds holding was not core to its business going forward. The insurer added that once the deal is completed through the achievement of final regulatory approval the net proceeds of the disposal will be used to support other group activities.