(Bloomberg) --

Allianz SE is considering a sale of its Saudi Arabian unit, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would help the German insurer streamline its portfolio and raise cash.

The German insurer is working with an adviser on the potential disposal of its controlling stake in Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co., the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. 

Shares of Riyadh-based Allianz Saudi Fransi have dropped about 44% this year, giving the company a market value of roughly $231 million. Other insurers have expressed preliminary interest in acquiring the business, according to the people. 

Deliberations are in the early stages and Allianz could still decide to retain the asset, they said. A representative for Allianz declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Allianz Saudi Fransi couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

Established in 2007, Allianz Saudi Fransi is a joint venture between the Allianz group and Banque Saudi Fransi. Allianz owns a 51% stake in the venture, according to the group’s latest annual report. It offers individual products such as motor and travel insurance, as well as corporate services including marine and health insurance, its website shows. 

An exit from Saudi Arabia would follow the footsteps of other European insurers leaving the country. French insurer AXA SA last year sold insurance operations in the region. 

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