British insurer RSA Insurance Group is planning to divest its Asian operations through an auction that could be worth approximately $500m, to rationalize its global operations and focus on core market such as the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.


People familiar with the sale process were quoted by Reuters as saying that many firms have expressed interest including Sompo Japan Insurance, a unit of NKSJ, as well as France’s AXA to buy the Asian business.

One person familiar with the development told the publications that Australia’s QBE Insurance Group and German insurer Allianz can also place their bids.

The proposed divesture is part of a group-wide restructuring supervised by new chief executive Stephen Hester, after losses caused by extreme weather and accounting irregularities at its Irish division hit its finances, according to the publication.

RSA has hired Goldman Sachs Group to advise and launch the sale process in the coming weeks, the source added.

RSA Asian business has operations in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and India.

Earlier in April 2014, RSA signed an agreement to divest its insurance business in the Baltics and Poland to Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen sa (PZU), in a cash transaction worth £300m.

In February this year, reports emerged that RSA was exploring options to divest its Canadian businesses Noraxis Capital Corp, a network of regional insurance brokers for nearly £200m.

RSA manages its insurance operations in 31 nations across Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada and the Middle East.

Image: UK’s RSA plans to offload Asian operations for up to $500m. Photo courtesy of stockimages/