British bank HSBC <0005.HK> is close to a $1 billion (627.2 million pound) sale of its general insurance operations to AXA and QBE , Sky News reported on Wednesday.

The report, which cited people close to the situation, said HSBC's general insurance business in Asia outside Hong Kong would be sold to French insurer AXA. It added that the deal could be announced early next week.

AXA would also get the Mexican business, while Australia's QBE would buy HSBC's Hang Seng insurance operation in Hong Kong and take over its presence in Argentina.

An HSBC spokesman in London declined to comment on the report, while AXA and a London-based official for QBE also declined to comment.

People familiar with the matter had told Reuters earlier this month that AXA and U.S. insurer ACE were in the hunt to buy HSBC's general insurance arm.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)