Reinsurer moves to raise investment capital

French reinsurer Scor has sold its 35% stake in credit insurer Coface as part of a plan to refocus on the reinsurance sector.

Scor sold the stake for ¤290m (£177m) to Natexis-Banque Populaires, the Banques Populaires Group's financing, investment and service bank.

A Scor spokeswoman said the time had come to shift Scor's investment into reinsurance.

"The cycle has turned and we think we can make good use of the capital that we've released," she said.

A Scor statement said the sale would yield a profit of ¤96m (£59m) and release ¤180m (£110m) of shareholder equity, which would be redeployed to reinsurance activity.

Natexis, which already held 19% of Coface, said it would cross-sell Coface's products with its own as part of a strategy to strengthen its service offering to corporate clients.

Coface UK managing director Malcolm Guest said the deal would not affect the UK operation.

"It's business as usual... and we're going ahead with our expansion plans," he said.

Last week, Coface said it had begun the next stage of its UK expansion. It said it intended to strengthen its presence in the UK and provide a platform for continued growth.