Another day, another sale at RSA


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The Independent Online

Stephen Hester, the boss of RSA Insurance, has off-loaded its business in Singapore and Hong Kong for £130m to Allied World Assurance as he presses on with a major slimming-down of the FTSE 100 group.

The former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive has now sold four subsidiaries since taking the helm at RSA in February.

The latest sale means Mr Hester has raised close to £740m to bolster the balance sheet. He received £300m for selling RSA’s Baltics and Poland operation in April, collected £238m for disposing of its majority-owned Canadian insurance brokerage business in May and netted a further £71m from selling its China division in July. He also carried out a near-£800m rights issue in March.

Mr Hester said that the sell-off of the Singapore and Hong Kong business “represents continued progress against our aim of tightening the strategic focus of the group”. He promised further disposals over the next 12 to 18 months.

The previous chief executive, Simon Lee, quit in December after two years, following a crisis in the company’s Irish operation that resulted in a £200m “black hole” because of a capital shortfall.