March 29, 2018 / 12:33 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's CBA reviews Indonesian life insurance business

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March 29 (Reuters) - Commonwealth Bank of Australia said on Thursday it is undertaking a strategic review of its Indonesian life insurance business, PT Commonwealth Life, and that it has engaged external advisers for guidance on a possible sale of the venture.

The decision follows an earlier announcement of the proposed sale of the bank’s life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand to AIA Group, the company added in a statement.

Reuters had earlier reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Australia’s biggest lender was considering selling its majority stake in an Indonesian insurance venture in a deal valued at up to $250 million.

Commonwealth Bank is an 80 percent shareholder in PT Commonwealth Life.

A possible stake sale, if completed, will be another instance of Asia Pacific banks exiting the insurance sector to free up capital and focus on their core businesses amid tougher regulatory capital buffer requirements.

CBA shares were up 0.6 percent in early Sydney trade compared with a 0.2 percent decline in the broader benchmark index.

Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

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