Suitors express interest in purchase of RBS insurance division.

Interest in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s insurance business RBSI has continued to mount, with up to 15 potential bidders thought to have expressed an interest.

The Spanish commercial bank, Bankinter, has been named as one potential suitor. According to reports, it has asked RBS about a buy-out of their insurance joint venture, Linea Directa, in a move that values the business at up to £700m. Linea Directa, the Spanish arm of Direct Line, controls 5% of the Spanish motor insurance market.

It has also been reported that investor Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, is considering making a multi-billion-pound bid.

Buffet reportedly said: “We will look at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s divestiture of its insurance business. A Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary is close to buying another medium-sized UK company. The UK economy is something we understand and feel comfortable with.”

It is still not known whether RBS, which launched a £12bn rights issue and intends to raise at least £5bn more through its insurance arm, will sell all or part of its insurance division, though it is thought to favour a complete sale.