UPDATE 3-New Generali boss targets 4 bln euros from asset sales
* Targets 5 bln euros op result, cost savings of 600 mln eur
* CEO Greco says won't cut dividend over three-year plan
* To expand P&C business, sees Solvency I above 160 pct
* Shares little moved, down 0.4 pct
LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - New Generali boss Mario Greco said the sale of non-core assets would raise some 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) as part of a turnaround strategy that promises to boost profit by focusing on "value over volume".
Europe's third-biggest insurer has already put on the blocks Swiss private bank BSI and its U.S. reinsurance business, which analysts say could be worth around 2.5 billion euros together, as it concentrates on its core business.
More disposals would be needed to meet the capital target.
"We expect the total benefit to the business from the disposal of non-core assets, including those already mentioned ... will bring in around 4 billion euros of regulatory capital by end-2015," Greco said during a series of briefings for investors and analysts in London on Monday.
Under the new three-year plan, Italy-based Generali aims to boost operating profit by a quarter by expanding its non-life segment, hiking investments in eastern Europe and Asia and cut costs by 600 million euros ($800.7 million) of cost cuts to boost shareholder returns.
Greco, an outsider who took office on Aug. 1 backed by top investor Mediobanca, promised operating profit of more than 5 billion euros, up from 4 billion which had been envisaged at the end of 2012, though the timeframe over which this would be delivered was specified only as "over the cycle".
"We shall implement a revolution based on discipline, simplicity and focus," Greco said as he unveiled his road-map to improve profitability at Italy's biggest financial group.
"Today marks a significant milestone in reshaping Generali. The mandate from our shareholders is to improve returns and group profitability."
Generali's reorganisation follows similar overhauls at European insurers including Aviva, Axa and Old Mutual, as ultra-low interest rates and volatile financial markets in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis take their toll on the sector's finances.
Underperformance at Generali, which suffered more than peers due to its large exposure to crisis-hit Italy, prompted frustrated investors to oust long-standing CEO Giovanni Perissinotto in a boardroom coup last year.
The new strategy envisages bringing the contribution of Generali's non-life segment to around a half of insurance operating profit by 2015, up from 35 percent.
The plan also aims to lift Generali's Solvency I margin - the main measure of capital strength for European insurers - to 160 percent from a company estimate of between 150 and 155 percent at the end of 2012.
That includes Generali's 2.5 billion euro deal last week to buy out its GPH eastern European joint venture, a takeover that removed uncertainty over strategy in the fast-growing region.
"Generali's new financial targets were somewhat ahead of expectations," analysts at brokerage Cheuvreux said. "We have some question marks on how these targets could be achieved, especially with respect to the capital target."
Greco promised to achieve the group's targets without cutting dividends and said there would not be any significant staff reductions in any of the regions where Generali operates.
He also said he was not planning to cut activities in mature markets such as Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, which some analysts consider to have been underperforming.
No specific acquisitions were planned in eastern Europe, which represents around 6 percent of total premiums, he added.
Shares in Generali were down 0.4 percent against a 0.4 percent rise in the European insurance sector. Since Greco's arrival, the stock has gained around 45 percent, outperforming a 25 percent rise in the sector.
The increase partly reflects an improvement in sentiment towards Italy that has boosted the value of Generali's around 50 billion euro Italian government bond portfolio. But it also reflects hopes for Greco's leadership, reflecting his track record at Italian insurer Ras, now part of Allianz, and Switzerland's Zurich Insurance.
Greco, who has already carried out a review of Generali's investment portfolio, has not yet received binding offers for BIS and the U.S. reinsurance activities. "We are not forced sellers, so if we see offers that are not interesting, we will step back," he said.