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Phoenix confirms European business sale talks

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LONDON (Reuters) – British insurer Phoenix Group confirmed it is in advanced discussions for a potential sale of its European units, the latest insurer in the sector seeking to streamline its business.

The company said in a statement late Monday that discussions are on-going and there can be no certainty that any transaction will be agreed. Shares rose 0.7% at the open on Tuesday.

Sky News reported on Monday that Phoenix could sell the business for around 550 million pounds ($780.01 million).

Phoenix Group, which has around 14 million customers for its long-term savings and retirement business and 338 billion pounds ($479.25 billion) of assets under administration, has overseas operations primarily in Germany and Ireland.

These operations came under its purview after its acquisition of Standard Life Aberdeen’s insurance division in 2018.

Earlier this year, fellow British insurer Aviva agreed the sale of its operations in France for 3.2 billion euros to Macif’s Aéma Groupe as part of its shift to focus on its core operations in Britain, Ireland and Canada.

($1 = 0.7053 pounds)

(Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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