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Fortis to sell remainder of Assurant stake

European insurer Fortis has revealed its intention to offload its remaining 36% stake in US subsidiary Assurant. The company plans to divest its share through a public offering and a convertible bond issue.

The Dutch-Belgian financial services group will sell 27.2 million shares, about 20% of the Assurant, via a public sale. The outstanding 16% share will be offered under a convertible bond issue that would be exchangeable into its equivalent 23 million Assurant shares.

The move is an expected one as the company initially indicated that it would eventually end its links with the US listed Assurant when it floated just under a year ago. A spokeswoman for Fortis commented that Assurant was not core to Fortis’ focus, which is in Europe and Asia, and that the funds raised from the sale would be used to accelerate the company’s strategy.

Assurant has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on the secondary sale of the 27.2 million shares by Fortis. The company expects the sale to take place as soon as the registration is approved.