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British insurer RSA sells Russian operations

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(Reuters) — RSA Insurance Group is selling its Russian operations, Intouch Insurance, to Russian pension fund Blagosostoyanie for around £5 million ($7.5 million) cash, the British insurer said on Wednesday, as part on an ongoing restructuring plan.

The sale is the latest move by Chief Executive Stephen Hester to sell off non-core assets across the world and shore up the firm's balance sheet.

RSA sold its Latin American business for £400 million in September and is also expected to sell its Middle Eastern business.

"Our business in Russia does not have the same scale as our core franchises in the UK, Canada and Scandinavia," Paul Whittaker, group chief operating officer said in a statement.

"Therefore we have decided to sell Intouch to a company that is an experienced and committed player in the Russian market."

RSA Russia accounted for net written premiums of £27 million and an underwriting loss of £5 million within RSA's 2014 group results before deduction of non-controlling interest, the insurer said.

Hester has said the insurer, best known in Britain for its More Than insurance brand, is not looking to be taken over after rival Zurich Insurance abandoned a proposed £5.6 billion bid for RSA in September, a process he described as a "distraction".

Blagosostoyanie is one of the largest non-state pension funds in Russia, according to its website.