Austria’s Uniqa said on Oct 22 it has acquired the Croatian and Serbian insurance companies of the Swiss Baloise Group for EUR 75mn, aiming to foster its market position in the two Balkan countries.
The acquisition still has to be approved by the supervisory and antitrust authorities. The transaction is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2014, Uniqa said in a statement after signing the deal on Oct 21.
“We believe there is big potential for further growth in the region. This acquisition supports our UNIQA 2.0 strategy programme and is in line with our business model of a profitable, long-term growth in our core markets,” Wolfgang Kindl, CEO of UNIQA International, said in the statement.
The UNIQA 2.0 programme, launched in May 2011, targets raising the number of the group’s customers to 15 million by 2020 and improving its EBT by up to EUR 350mn between 2012 and 2015 via focusing on Austria and Central and Eastern Europe.
Basler Croatia has 470 employees and 148,000 customers. It generated a premium volume of EUR 53.7mn in 2012, ranking the sixth largest insurer in Croatia with a market share of 4.5%.
Basler Serbia has some 110 employees and 35,000 customers. It was Serbia’s 13th biggest insurer last year with a 0.7% market share and EUR 3.7mn premiums.
Otherwise, Uniqa entered the Croatian market in 1999. It offers all forms of property and personal insurance, and has 409 employees and around 177,000 customers. Last year, Uniqa Croatia generated EUR 30mn premiums, ranking 11th among Croatian insurance companies with a 2.5% market share. Following the acquisition of Basler, Uniqa will become the fourth largest company among more than 20 insurers with a 7% market share.
In Serbia, Uniqa has been active in life and property insurance since 2007. Its companies employ 563 people and manage 509,000 customers. Uniqa Serbia was the fifth larget insurer in the country last year with 7.3% market share and EUR 39mn premiums. Thanks to the merger with Basler, Uniqa’s market share in Serbia will rise to 8%.
For comparison, the total premiums on the Croatian insurance market reached EUR 1.2bn in 2012, equal to 2.7% of GDP, according to Uniqa data. Non-life insurance generated 73% of the total. In Serbia, the 24 insurance firms saw combined premiums of EUR 550mn last year (1.8% of GDP). Life insurance contributed 19% of the total. Croatia is a country of 4.4 million people, while Serbia has some 7.2 million inhabitants.
Uniqa operates in 15 markets in Central and Eastern Europe, including apart from Croatia and Serbia also Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Hungary.
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