ECONOMY

Credit Agricole sells Greek life insurance unit to cement exit

credit-agricole-sells-greek-life-insurance-unit-to-cement-exit

Credit Agricole SA will sell its Greek life- insurance unit to Euroins Insurance Group as the French bank accelerated its exit from the crisis-hit country’s financial industry.

Euroins Insurance, based in Bulgaria, will complete the purchase by the end of the fourth quarter, the company said on Monday, without providing an amount for the deal. A Credit Agricole spokeswoman declined to comment when reached by e-mail.

“The transaction shows their determination to completely exit Greece,” said Jean-Pierre Lambert, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. in London with an underperform rating on the stock. Credit Agricole had “very reduced” exposure to Greece, he said.

France’s second-largest bank began scaling down its Greek operations at the start of 2013 by selling Emporiki Bank. Last year, it had 18 million euros ($19.5 million) of revenue in Greece, where it employed about 130 people at the end of December, its website shows.

Credit Agricole owned no Greek sovereign debt at the end of 2014 and its exposure to Greece, excluding shipping, amounted to 200 million euros. Its Greek operations also included consumer finance and leasing units, according to its website.

[Bloomberg]