HSBC sells Irish insurance business to Catalina Holdings

HSBC, Europe's biggest lender, today agreed to sell HSBC Reinsurance and HSBC Insurance (Ireland) to Bermuda-based Catalina Holdings.

HSBC Reinsurance and HSBC Insurance (Ireland), which focus on wrote creditor, property, travel and motor insurance, were closed to new customers and put into run-off in June 2010 and June 2009, respectively.

The businesses had gross assets of $273 million (£176 million) as of 31 March 2012.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Ireland, is expected to be over in the third quarter of 2012.

Under CEO Stuart Gulliver, HSBC is undertaking a major revamp of its global operations aimed at cutting costs by $3.5 billion, including steps like withdrawing from retail banking in some countries.

It recently sold some of its business in the US, Japan, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay, and is in talks to sell its South Korean and Pakistani assets.

Earlier in March, HSBC sold its general insurance businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, Argentina and Mexico to French insurance company Axa and Australian insurer QBE Insurance Group for $914 million.

Last month, the London-based bank sold its entire stakes in Indian lenders Axis Bank and Yes Bank for around $429.50 million (Rs2,448 crore). (See: HSBC to sell entire stake in Axis Bank, Yes Bank for Rs2,448 crore)