BRUSSELS/TOKYO, July 5 (Reuters) – Belgian banking and insurance group KBC (KBC.BR) sold its Asian derivatives unit for around $1 billion, as part of the restructuring it promised in return for state aid during the financial crisis.
KBC also said on Monday it sold a Brussels-based reinsurance unit for 267 million euros ($358.2 million).
The Belgian group sold its Global Convertible Bond and Asian Equity Derivatives businesses to Daiwa Capital Markets, the investment banking unit of Daiwa Securities Group (8601.T)
The deal will release approximately $200 million in capital, resulting in an increase in its tier-1 ratio of 10 basis points, KBC said.
KBC, which received 7 billion euros ($9.39 billion) of state support during the crisis, has agreed with the European Commission to reduce its risk-weighted assets by 39 billion euros between 2008 and 2013, mainly through reducing its capital market activities and international corporate lending.
Daiwa’s purchase of some of KBC’s operations comes as the Japanese brokerage is trying to expand its Asian operations. After it cut its investment banking alliance with Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T), Daiwa has shifted its focus on Asia to tap growth in the region.
The company recently said it would double its research business for Asian stocks in the next two years and will keep hiring bankers from rivals.
KBC also said on Monday that it has sold its Brussels-based reinsurance company Secura NV to Australia’s top insurer by premium income, QBE Insurance Group (QBE.AX), for 267 million euros plus gains to be realised on the investment portfolio and earnings for the year 2010 until completion.
Australia’s QBE, which made over 75 acquisitions in the last 10 years to spread to 47 countries, has said growth in its existing businesses in the developed world would be low but was in talks for takeovers in Europe, the U.S., Latin America and Australia.
In May KBC raised 1.35 billion euros in what was its biggest divestment to date under the restructuring plan by selling its private banking arm KBL European Private Bankers to Indian family-owned investment firm Hinduja Group. [ID:nLDE64K05X]
KBC closed down its Japanese operations in March and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) hired equity analysts, traders and sales people from KBC’s Tokyo office.
By 0824 GMT KBC shares were down 1 percent compared with a 0.3 percent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 banking index .SX7P ($1=.7453 euro) (By Ben Deighton in Brussels, Junko Fujita in Tokyo and Narayanan Somasundara in Sydney; Editing by Erica Billingham)