BRUSSELS - Belgian banking and insurance group KBC will divest its private equity unit as part of the restructuring plan required in return for receiving state aid, a spokeswoman for the group said on Thursday.

The group secured European Commission approval on Wednesday for the plan, which will cut its risk-weighted assets by 25 percent and entail no capital increase.

It pledged a sharp downscaling of merchant banking, the sale of private banking and a string of divestments in return for receiving state aid.

But the group did not say on Wednesday it would divest KBC Private Equity.

We only announced the main thrust of the plan yesterday, but we have indeed informed the clients of private equity that KBC Private Equity will be divested, the spokeswoman said.

She added that the group had not yet started talks with potential buyers. (Reporting by Antonia van de Velde)