January 12, 2016 / 9:35 PM / 3 years ago

Metlife plans to separate U.S. retail business; shares rise

A statue stands atop Grand Central Station in front of the MetLife building in New York, October 8, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - Metlife Inc (MET.N), the largest U.S. life insurer, said it plans to separate a substantial portion of its U.S. retail business.

The company’s shares rose 8 percent to $45.06 in after-market trading on Tuesday.

Metlife said it is evaluating measures including an initial public offering, a spinoff or a sale.

“U.S. Retail is part of a Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) and risks higher capital requirements that could put it at a significant competitive disadvantage,” Chief Executive Steven Kandarian said in a statement.

The new company, which will be led by executive vice president Eric Steigerwalt, will not house certain parts of the U.S. retail segment, including the life insurance closed block and property-casualty units.

The new business would represent about 20 percent of Metlife’s operating earnings and 50 percent of the U.S. retail segment’s operating earnings, the company said.

All its other reporting segments would remain part of Metlife.

The company’s shares fell about 11 percent in 2015.

Reporting by Nikhil Subba and Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian and Sriraj Kalluvila

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