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Eagle Star Holdings P.L.C., the U.K. multiline insurance subsidiary of B.A.T Industries P.L.C., plans to close 13 U.K. commercial branch offices, resulting in the elimination of 540 jobs, over the next two years. The closures follow a comprehensive review of Eagle Star's operations prior to the merger of the financial services operations of B.A.T with Switzerland's Zurich Insurance Co. The merger, which will create Zurich Financial Services Group (BI, May 25), is expected to be finalized by late 1998. Eagle Star will continue to operate as a individual entity. . . .Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. has acquired Swiss asset management company Banca della Svizzera Italiana for 1.9 million Swiss francs ($1.2 million). BSI, based in Lugano, Switzerland, operates in Europe, North America, South America and Hong Kong. As of Dec. 31, 1997, BSI had managed assets of 31 billion Swiss francs ($21.21 billion) for more than 34,000 customers. Generali said in a statement that the purchase will strengthen its capabilities as a provider of an integrated array of insurance, health, pension and asset management services. . . .Adrian Ballardie has been appointed managing director and chief executive of AXA Re U.K. P.L.C. of London. Mr. Ballardie, previously AXA Re general manager, replaces Ken Haddon, who retired June 30. Mr. Haddon will continue as non-executive chairman of AXA Re for another year. . . .Standard & Poor's Corp. has upgraded the insurer financial strength rating of the Arab Insurance Group of Bahrain to A from A-. S&P said the group now has a strengthened capital base after a successful public share offering of 50.5% of the company at the end of 1997 and is well positioned to expand its product base and presence in the Middle East and inter-nationally. . . .Lloyd's of London managing agency Wellington Underwriting P.L.C. has signed separate, non-binding agreements to sell its auto and personal lines businesses. Under the agreements, Wellington's auto business will be sold to Crowe Insurance Group Ltd. of London, and its personal lines business will be sold to London-based Chubb Insurance Co. of Europe. Anthony Taylor, Wellington underwriting director, said the sales will allow Wellington to focus on its core business of international marine and non-marine insurance and reinsurance. . . .German reinsurer Hannover Re has formally completed its purchase of Skandia International Insurance Co., a division of Skandia Insurance Co Ltd. of Stockholm, Sweden. The sale, which incorporates Skandia's international portfolio of life and health reinsurance, and aviation and space insurance, was agreed to in September (BI, Sept. 29, 1997). In conjunction with the completion, the U.K. subsidiary Skandia Reassurance (U.K.) Ltd., which was part of the purchase, has been renamed Hannover Life Re U.K. . . .Munich Reinsurance Co., seeking to boost capital for future acquisitions and strengthen current operations, said last week it will raise 3.3 billion deutsche marks ($1.82 billion) through two share issues. Munich Re plans international stock listings and will raise 2.1 billion marks ($1.16 billion) through a shareholder rights issue and 1.2 billion marks ($663 million) by offering unregistered bearer stock at a price of 247 marks ($137) per share. The reinsurer also said its gross premiums written for the fiscal year ending June 30 rose 38% to 44.4 billion marks ($24.55 billion) Munich Re's net income increased 57% to 1.1 billion marks. The results reflect consolidation of U.S.-based unit American Re-Insurance Co. and a German primary insurance subsidiary.