By Daniel Hunter

HSBC and Hang Seng Bank have agreed to sell their general insurance businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, Argentina and Mexico.

The sale further demonstrates progress in the execution of their cost-cuting strategy that will see money invested in other key areas of the business.

The value of the gross assets to be sold by HSBC Group companies was US$1,228 million at 31 December 2011, of which assets to be sold to AXA represent US$444 million, and assets to be sold to QBE represent US$784 million.

"This is a further step in the execution of our strategy," Stuart Gulliver, HSBC Group Chief Executive, said.

"It will enable us to focus our capital and resources on the growth of our core businesses, including the building of our broader wealth management capabilities."

"These long term collaborations with AXA and QBE will broaden and strengthen the suite of general insurance products available to our retail banking and commercial banking customers in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Argentina."

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