Foreign investors continue consolidation on local insurance market

Newsroom 08/12/2008 | 16:10

While 2007 was a year of acquisitions on the insurance market, the consolidation of the segment continued this year with two deals. Insurer Uniqa took over local Unita from Vienna Insurance Group. Unita, with a 6.5 percent market share on the Romanian market, posted EUR 142 million in premiums in 2007, and reached 550,000 clients. Following the deal, Uniqa was planning to pursue the purchase of a further share package in insurer Astra, where it already holds a 23 percent stake, acquired in 2007 for EUR 10 million. The negotiations with local businessman Dan Adamescu, who owns the majority of the company, were, however, unsuccessful and the Austrian insurer has announced its intention to sell its share package in the company.
Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) was both seller and buyer on the Romanian market this year. It has sold Unita, but took over BCR Insurance and BCR Life Insurance from Austrian Erste group. The deal was sealed at regional level, as VIG took over the insurance operations from Erste in a number of countries in the region, paying EUR 1.4 billion.
The housing bank sector witnessed one of the few banking and finance deals this year, when Raiffeisen Banca pentru Locuinte (Raiffeisen Housing Bank) signed the acquisition of its competitor HVB Banca pentru Locuinte (HVB Housing Bank). The deal has led to the creation of a bigger player on the market, but the number of competitors on this market niche in Romania stays the same, as BCR created this year its own player on this niche, BCR Housing Bank.
The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) welcomed a new investor among its shareholders this year, when the former investment bank Morgan Stanley bought into the local stock market operators. Morgan Stanley, which in the meantime became a bank holding company, bought 2.7 percent in the BVB through two transactions this year, from H&C Securities in Iasi and from WBS Romania brokerage companies. Morgan Stanley, also a shareholder in local brokerage company HTI Valori Mobiliare, paid EUR 5.5 million for its share package in BVB, which it recently
put up for sale for just EUR 2.1 million.

By Corina Saceanu

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