NETHERLANDS - Even before the acquisition of Swiss Life Belgium has been completed, new owner SNS Reaal has agreed to sell the company to Delta Lloyd Group.

"We have decided to sell Swiss Life Belgium, because our strategic focus is on the Netherlands," SNS Reaal, the €83bn Dutch bank-insurer has announced.

SNS agreed to take over both the Belgian and the Dutch business of Swiss Life Holding in a €2.09bn deal last November.

But according to SNS, it will sell now the shares of Swiss Life Belgium for €135m in cash, though the final consideration will be based on the financial data as at 31 December 2007.

This transaction includes the same indemnities as provided by Swiss Life Holding to SNS Reaal, the firm added.

The Brussels-based Swiss Life Belgium generated €475 of GWP last year and employs 360 staff.

However, the agreement between SNS Reaal and Delta Lloyd Group is subject to completion of the acquisition of the Dutch and Belgium activities of Swiss Life Holding, SNS pointed out.

Completion of both transactions is also subject to approval from the relevant regulators and works councils, and is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2008, it added.

Acquisition of the Dutch activities of Swiss Life - known under the brand name Zwitserleven - will not be impacted by the sale of Swiss Life Belgium, SNS stressed.

Utrecht-based SNS Reaal provides banking and insurance services, with a focus on the Dutch retail market and on small and medium-sized businesses, and currently employs 7,000 staff.

In Belgium, meanwhile, Delta Lloyd Group is a medium-sized bank with 300 branches and life insurer, and gross premium income of €300m in 2006.

This new combination will lift Delta Lloyd Life Belgium's market position to within the top five life insurers in Belgium.

Integration of Swiss Life Belgium with Delta Lloyd Belgium will not lead to instant redundancies, spokeswoman Nathalie de Heem of Delta Lloyd Belgium told IPE.

"Possible redundancies will be decided in a long-term integration plan, which needs to be drawn up," she explained.

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