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National Australia Bank sells majority of insurance arm to Nippon Life for AUS$2.4bn

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has agreed to sell an 80% stake of its insurance business to Japanese firm Nippon Life for AUS$2.4bn (£1.1bn).

28 OCTOBER 2015 | BY CINTIA CHEONG

Sydney, Australia © iStock
MLC Life is part of NAB's wealth management division. © iStock

The deal involves the sale of 80% of outstanding shares of MLC Life, part of the Australian bank’s wealth management division MLC. NAB is retaining the remaining 20 per cent of the shares.

As part of the deal NAB will be able to sell life insurance products through MLC Life for a period of 20 years.

The sale was announced as part of NAB’s full year results, in which the Australian bank said it wanted to focus on its wealth management business.

David Hackett, currently executive general manager of insurance at NAB Wealth and executive director of MLC, will be appointed CEO of MLC Life. 

Andrew Thorburn, CEO at NAB, said: “Our wealth business has delivered significantly improved results since 2013, which has enabled us to secure the long term partnership we are announcing today with Nippon Life.

“This partnership will enable us to continue to deliver insurance solutions to our customers while improving wealth returns for shareholders.”

Rating agency Fitch said NAB's focus on its core businesses would be likely to result in “improved profitability and asset quality”. It said exiting non-core businesses should “free up management time”, allowing the group to make better use of its strong banking franchise in both Australia and New Zealand.

The deal is expected to be completed between September and December 2016, subject to regulatory and director approvals.

Last month Nippon Life agreed to buy 85% of stake in Mitsui for an undisclosed sum.