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CIMB invites bids for insurance distribution deal: sources

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's second-biggest bank by assets, on Wednesday posted its highest quarterly net interest income in seven quarters but said slowing Southeast Asian economies could curb future growth.

[SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysian lender CIMB Group Holdings has invited bids from insurers for a distribution agreement to sell their general insurance products in four Southeast Asian markets, a deal that could fetch it about US$400 million, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Malaysia's No. 2 bank has hired JPMorgan to advise it on the deal, which is expected to draw interest from companies including Australia's QBE Insurance Group, Tokyo Marine Holdings Inc, France's AXA and Italy's Generali among others, the people said.

German insurer Allianz's 10-year bancassurance agreement to distribute general insurance products through CIMB's branches ends in 2017. The insurer is expected to bid to renew the partnership, people familiar with the process said.

CIMB has about 1,000 branches servicing about 13 million customers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, with its home market and Indonesia making up the majority.

CIMB was not immediately available to comment. JPMorgan, Allianz, Generali, AXA, Tokio Marine and QBE declined to comment.