UPDATE 2-Generali has offers for Swiss and US arms - CEO

Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:43pm EST
 
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By Andrea Mandala and Sophie Sassard

MILAN/LONDON Jan 18 (Reuters) - Generali has received non-binding offers for Swiss-based private bank BSI and U.S. reinsurance business, chief executive Mario Greco said, as the Italian insurer seeks to strengthen its capital to meet new industry rules.

Greco, who took the helm in August and aims to raise 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) from asset sales, said on Friday any sale could take some months.

"I am not sure that we will have closed all the sales by the end of the first quarter. We are talking of a few months," Greco told reporters.

The reinsurance business in the United States is likely to attract a lot of interest from industry rivals, while BSI may draw relatively fewer bidders who will be able to play hardball on price.

Potential suitors for Generali U.S., which analysts have valued at $500 million, include Munich Re, Swiss Re , Zurich, Scor, Hannover Re , RGA and Bermuda based hedge funds and reinsurers.

Europe's third-largest insurer, bought BSI just before the financial crisis and has been trying to sell it for more than two years. But Generali had until now failed to attract significant interest, several banking sources have told Reuters.

Price has been the main sticking point since potential buyers believe BSI is worth less than its book value of more than 2 billion euros, two people working for possible suitors said.   Continued...