Generali plans to sell chunk of its portfolio

The Italian insurer is planning to offload a private equity portfolio which is valued at approximately €500m. The sale is in ‘advanced stages’, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali is preparing the sale of a portfolio of private equity fund stakes valued at approximately €500 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

It is understood the sale is in “advanced stages” and could be finalised in a number of weeks.

The story was first reported by Bloomberg, which also reported that Generali sold approximately $400 million of private-equity fund stakes to Lexington Partners in June last year.

Generali declined to comment.

Increased regulations such as Solvency II and Basel III have forced some insurers to offload their private equity portfolios in recent years. In January, French insurer Groupama sold Groupama Private Equity (GPE) to ACG, a fund of funds group, as part of its efforts to dispose of non-core assets.

Generali's portfolio is one of the biggest to hit the market in some time. While the secondary market has been very active in the last two years with deal volume levels of around $25 billion consecutively in 2011 and 2012, this year could end up with levels below of that number, if the subdued deal activity seen in the last months of 2012 and early months of 2013 continue this year.

Some market sources believe however deal flow will pick up in the second half of the year. “The market will be pretty robust, most activity happens in the second half, historically. Most people come to the market in the fall,” Hugh Perloff, managing director with Portfolio Advisors, told PEI earlier this month.