UPDATE 3-RSA Latin America spin-off seen smoothing Zurich takeover
* Deal for 403 mln pounds in cash
* Comes after Zurich Insurance makes 5.6 bln pound RSA bid
* Analysts say it could cut Zurich's equity-raising needs (Adds Zurich comment, impact on capital raising, updates shares)
By Carolyn Cohn and Esha Vaish
Sept 8 (Reuters) - British insurer RSA is selling its Latin American operations to Colombia's GrupoSura for 403 million pounds ($617 million) in a deal that could ease RSA's own takeover by Zurich Insurance.
The sale is the latest move by Chief Executive Stephen Hester to sell off non-core assets and shore up the firm's balance sheet. It comes after RSA received a friendly takeover approach from rival Zurich Insurance.
RSA, which gave Zurich four weeks to come up with a firm takeover offer following an initial 5.6 billion pound proposal, said it had informed the insurer about the sales process prior to Zurich's announcement last month.
The outcome of Zurich's possible offer will not affect the transaction, it added.
For its part, Zurich would remain disciplined in price negotiations, a spokeswoman for the company said in an emailed statement. Continuación...