Hambros, the British investment bank in which the Hong Kong fund management group Regent Pacific has built up an aggressive 4 per cent stake, yesterday said it had identified buyers for its life assurance and real estate arm Hambro Countrywide. In a further victory for Regent, which has long been clamouring for Hambros to boost its share price by selling off some businesses, the bank yesterday said it would de-merge its 51 per cent interest in Hambro Countrywide. The bank said the de-merger could be followed by an offer for the remaining assets of the company, including its asset management joint venture Guinness Flight Hambro - in which Regent has expressed an interest. Yesterday, Hambros' shares reacted cautiously, moving up just 0.35 per cent to 285.5 pence in morning trade but less than four pence off its year high of 289 pence. Analysts said the market was keen to see what price Hambros could achieve for Hambro Countrywide before making any judgment. The bank started responding to shareholder pressure to improve value last year, when it sold its core banking interests to France's Societe Generale for GBP300 million (about HK$3.92 billion). Hambros chairman Sir Chips Keswick - brother to Simon and Henry, who run Hong Kong's Jardine Matheson group - yesterday said the sale of Hambro Countrywide was a further 'major step in the process of change at Hambros'. 'The board is actively progressing discussions with certain interested parties who may be prepared to make a public offer for Hambros,' he said.