GERMANY - Munich-based banking group HypoVereinsbank (HVB) has sold its pension fund companies Chemie Pensionsfonds and HVB Pensionsfonds to insurer R+V, for an undisclosed sum.

HVB, part of the Italian UniCredit group, said in a statement it wants to focus on its core business of banking operations.

The German banking firm HVB ran into financial trouble earlier this year when the credit crunch hit and its own solvency position was placed under pressure, causing fear the bank would collapse.

But through this latest deal, R+V will take on all 40 employees of the HVB subsidiaries to grow its competences in the field of industry-wide pension provision, the insurer noted in a statement.

It already runs the R+V Pensionsversicherung, a €1.8bn fund which is the 41st largest in Germany, according to IPE's Top 1000.

Employer representatives and unions have agreed to the sale of the €100m Chemie Pensionsfonds with 30,000 members.

"This decision strengthens the fund and guarantees continuity and success for all participants," said Hans Paul Frey, chief executive of the employer representative Bundesarbeitgeberverbandes Chemie (BAVC).

R+V acknowledged there is growth potential for the fund, as it is part of the collective agreement for the industry which makes it easier for employees to convert parts of their salaries into pension fund contributions.  Around 300,000 people currently work in the chemical sector.

The fund has grown considerably since its inception in 2002 and in 2006 reported a 66% growth in assets.

Included in the package acquired by R+V are the €4m multi-employer HVB Pensionsfonds, the HVB Pensionsfonds-Service company and the remainder of the Pension Consult group.

HVB had already sold the parts of its consultancy which were focused on retirement solutions, other than Pensionsfonds, to Institut für Wirtschaftsmathematik und betriebliche Versorgungssysteme (IWV) at the end of October. (See earlier IPE article: HVB sells out pension consulting)

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