The Credit Suisse financial services group has announced that its subsidiary, Winterthur Insurance, is selling its business dealing with insurance for large multinational corporations.
The business - Winterthur International - is being bought by the Bermuda-based financial group XL Capital for $600 million (SFr1 billion).
A statement from Credit Suisse headquarters in Zurich said that after the sale of its active reinsurance business in 1998, this latest move would help Winterthur Insurance in its strategic efforts.
These are now focussed on non-life business with private clients and small and medium-sized companies in Switzerland, Europe and other selected markets.
With over 1,300 employees, Winterthur International is one of the leading insurers in total risk management for large national and multinational companies, and generated gross premiums totalling SFr2.3 billion in 2000.
The statement said that XL with its offer of insurance, reinsurance and financial services to large corporations, would provide Winterthur International with an "ideal environment" for its activities.
It added that by joining forces, the two companies were well placed to become one of the leading global providers in the area of total risk management.
XL plans to run the business without changes to the current management.
Winterthur International's chief executive officer, Willi Suter, said that subject to approval by the relevant authorities, the transaction should be completed in the second quarter. The new unit will operate under the name XL Winterthur International for a transitional period.
Commenting on the sale, the chief executive officer of Credit Suisse Financial Services and of the Winterthur group, Thomas Wellauer, said it would help the group focus on its core activities in the insurance business.
"We plan to use the proceeds from the sale to further reinforce our strong position in Europe," he added.