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Zurich declines comment on sale report

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Zurich has tapped Goldman Sachs and PwC to assist with a potential sale of its Australian general insurance division, excluding the travel business, according to a newspaper report last week.

The Australian Dataroom column reported that the insurer is preparing to launch a sale process, and the business on offer could be worth around $500 million.

A Zurich Australia spokeswoman told insuranceNEWS.com.au the company does not comment on rumours and speculation.

Analysts say the Zurich operations would attract significant interest at the “tyre-kicking” stage, including from local insurers IAG, Suncorp and QBE and from international insurers even where it doesn’t appear a likely fit.

“Assets don’t come up every day, particularly large assets, so why wouldn’t you see if you could make something work out,” one analyst told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

Potential acquirers include Allianz and Hollard, but both are bedding down recent major acquisitions, while other companies that could take a look include Chubb, Liberty, Berkley and AIG.

Insurers a tier down in size and that are not major local players may also be interested in looking for a transformative acquisition.

Macquarie Insurance Analyst Andrew Buncombe says Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) concerns could be a factor for QBE and IAG, which is also focused on improving its own business, while Suncorp may not be interested in acquiring Zurich’s commercial lines business.