Lloyds sells German life insurance unit

Lloyds sells German life insurance unit
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British state-backed lender Lloyds Banking Group has sold more assets, including a German life insurer that it owned.

Heidelberger Leben has been bought by a joint venture between private equity group Cinven and reinsurer Hannover Re. The price was around 300 million euros.

The deal – along with the separate sale of a batch of leveraged loans – could speed up the British government’s plans to start selling off its stake in Lloyds.

UK taxpayers own 39 percent of the bank after it had to be bailed out

“It’s another step along the road to just focusing on the domestic retail business, and another step along the road to a fourth quarter dividend,” said Mike Trippitt, director of banks’ research at London-based Numus securities.

Lloyds shares have surged by more than 50 percent in the year to date, well above the UK government’s so-called break even price, prompting speculation that a sale of around five billion pounds (5.86 billion euros) worth of shares is imminent.

The government has said it has no timetable or target price for the sale, but appointed JP Morgan in late July to advise on the possible sale of stake in Lloyds and an 81 percent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.

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