• Insurer says operations to remain in Worthing, England
  • Buyer is backed by Apollo funds, Ontario teachers’ plan

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., the U.S. insurer that’s been narrowing its focus, agreed to sell U.K. operations with $1 billion of assets to Catalina Holdings Ltd. to exit risks tied to asbestos and environmental policies issued more than two decades ago.

The units, Downlands Liability Management and Hartford Financial Products International, had shareholders equity of about 223 million pounds ($321 million) as of March 31, the seller said Tuesday in a statement. Catalina counts the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and funds managed by Apollo Global Management LLC among its major shareholders. The Bermuda-based business specializes in runoff deals in which it gets assets and agrees to wind down liabilities initiated by other insurers.

“HFPI is a large and well diversified business, the majority of which has been in runoff since 1993,” Catalina Chief Executive Officer Chris Fagan said in the statement. “It is managed by a professional and experienced team at DLM who will strengthen the breadth and diversity of Catalina’s U.K. business.”

The U.S. insurer is counting on coverage of homes, cars and commercial clients in the world’s largest economy. Hartford, based in the Connecticut city of the same name, previously divested a domestic life business, its Japan operations and a U.K. unit that offered retirement products.

The units being sold to Catalina will remain in Worthing, England, according to the statement, which didn’t disclose terms. Hartford was advised by Barclays Plc and used the law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The company said it expects the deal to be completed in the fourth quarter.

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