NAB has finalised its $2.4 billion insurance business sale to Nippon Life

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn, Source: supplied

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has finalised the sale of 80% of its MLC life insurance subsidiary to Nippon Life Insurance Company for $2.4 billion.

The bank retains a 20% interest in the the new MLC Life Insurance business, worth around $600 million, as well as full ownership of the existing investments business, which includes superannuation, platforms, advice and asset management.

NAB will continue to use the MLC brand in providing super, investments, advice and life insurance, and will continue to distribute MLC Life Insurance products through its network. The MLC Life Insurance business will have a 10-year license agreement to use the MLC brand for life insurance.

NAB also has a 20-year distribution agreement with Nippon Life to provide life insurance products through NAB’s owned and aligned distribution networks.

The financial details of the sale will be reported in the FY16 results on October 27. Of the $2.4 billion, $0.2bn was received as a dividend during FY16 and $2.2bn on completion on October 3.

The bank says the deal will deliver an increase of around 50 basis points to NAB’s CET1 capital ratio, and will reduce goodwill in the wealth business by around $1.6-$1.7 billion.

A loss on sale of $1.2-$1.3 billion is expected. As part of the FY16 results, 80% of the MLC Life Insurance earnings will be treated as discontinued operations outside of cash earnings.

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said the completion of the deal marked the end of the bank’s major divestments as it seeks to focus on core business in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

“From today we move forward with a simpler, clearer wealth model,” he said.

“We have also streamlined our superannuation business, merging five super funds into one to create Australia’s largest retail super fund.”

As part of the Nippon Life deal, Peter Grey, a former Australian Ambassador to Japan and European Union, and CEO of Austrade, has been appointed independent chairman of MLC Life Insurance, effectively immediately. He’s joined by independent non-executive director (NED) Andy Cornish, and NEDs, Hiroyuki Nishi and Toshihiro Nakashima.

Current independent NED and audit committee chair Sandra Birkensleigh, remains on the board, along with CEO David Hackett as executive director, with Andrew Hagger also staying on, but as a NED.

Outgoing MLC chairman Peeyush Gupta remains a NED at NAB, and for a number of NAB Group companies.

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