April 5, 2012 / 8:24 AM / 6 years ago

SocGen to keep insurance business - unit chief

PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) - The head of the insurance arm of French bank Societe Generale is confident the business will remain within the group and grow despite tougher European rules that threaten to ramp up the cost of doing business.

The head of SocGen’s insurance arm, Philippe Perret, told reporters on Thursday that he saw no reason why the bank should sell or restructure the unit given its earnings power.

“There is no plan to change the insurance division, which should stay within the group,” he said. “Its return on equity is very high and clearly above the average banking ROE.”

Perret added that the unit was on track for sustained growth in 2012 and planned to expand products in the promising Russian market.

Analysts have speculated that insurance might be one activity SocGen could dispose of as it shrinks its balance sheet and sells assets to meet tougher Basel III capital requirements.

Britain’s HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, recently put its insurance operations up for sale. (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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