NAB reportedly agrees to sell insurance arm to Nippon Life

National Australia Bank has reportedly agreed to sell 80 per cent of its life insurance arm to Japan’s Nippon Life Insurance Co for about $1.7bn.

Australia’s biggest lender by assets is expected to announce the sale tonight when it reports earnings, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Reuters. NAB put its shares on a trading halt, saying it was set to announce a “material transaction”, while a Nippon Life spokesman declined to comment.

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NAB, like its industry peers, is looking to raise funds to boost its capital ratio under new, stricter rules imposed by regulators.

NAB is set to announce full-year results tonight and with these is expected to provide a detailed update on the proposed demerger and initial public offering of its UK operations, which includes Yorkshire Bank.

Under the plans, NAB will sell 20 to 30 per cent to institutional shareholders and 70 to 80 per cent to existing NAB shareholders. The shares will be listed on both the London and Australian stock exchanges.