Belgium’s KBC sells unit to India’s Hinduja group

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    Belgian lender KBC said Friday it has sold its Luxembourg private bank unit to India’s Hinduja group for 1.35 billion euros (1.7 billion dollars) as it focus on its core banking business.

    KBL European Private Bankers, which had 47 billion dollars under management in 2009, will remain based in Luxembourg, with its current management team, a joint statement said.

    KBC, also a major insurance business, is being forced to divest assets under the oversight of the European Commission after the bank had to be bailed out by the Belgian government during the global financial crisis.

    KBC said the sale was the first important step in its restructuring to focus on banking and insurance activities. The Hinduja group, run by two brothers based in Britain, is a global empire spanning banking and finance, transport, information technology, media, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, oil and chemicals.

    Brussels, May 21, 2010 (AFP)