All eyes on CEE region: Southern Europe grows short on suitors

23 October 2012 — Mihaela CIRCU
All eyes on CEE region: Southern Europe grows short on suitors
marc_beckersAccording to Marc BECKERS, Head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at AON Benfield Analytics those that will be able to obtain a multiple on book value in the present economic environment will be acquisition targets in strategically attractive regions with Central and Eastern Europe and emerging markets will be seeing the greatest return.

The TALANX acquisition of WARTA is a rare recent example of a company paying more than book value for an insurer and reflects the importance of the Polish market to the German giant's equity story.

Markets like Poland and Turkey still demand multiples, but outside that, it's very hard to find any attractive assets for which people are willing to pay multiples.

Private equity firms are increasingly eyeing the insurance sector for opportunities, citing Apollo's acquisition of Brit and interest in expanding into the life reinsurance segment as a recent example he expects others to follow.

But as with insurer's own merger and acquisition considerations, the focus remains on geographies that present the most compelling growth story.

Most people are interested in the central and eastern European market space. It's hard to find anyone interested in other areas of Europe - particularly southern Europe, where pretty much everything is for sale.

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