GREECE: Calamos-Exin predicts National Insurance bid hard to match

3 May 2017 —
An offer for National Bank's insurance business by Calamos and Exin will be hard to match, partly because of the cultural and commercial links they have with Greece, the investment duo's chief executives said.

The pair are up against three Chinese groups looking to buy at least 75 percent of National Bank's (NBGr.AT) insurance unit as part of a regulator-approved restructuring plan by Greece's second-largest lender by assets to exit non-banking operations.

John Koudounis, CEO of Chicago-based Calamos Investments, reckons a Greek-American background is a major advantage in taking on Chinese groups Fosun (0656.HK), Shanghai-based Gongbao and Wintime to buy National Insurance.

Greece's oldest insurer, which was founded in 1891, provides life and non-life insurance products, had a 16.6 percent share of the market last year and 2015 net profit of 98 million euros.

Greek media have reported that the deal, which has to close by year-end, could be worth around 800 million euros. NBG, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, is likely to make its decision on a buyer well before the deadline.

"We know the insurance market and we know Greece. We are long-term investors and will be in Greece to stay," Koudounis, whose Calamos fund has $20 billion under management, said.

"We are very confident that the entire package we bring to the table in this process will be unmatched," he said, adding that the deal is being closely watched by other prominent Greek-American investors who were "ready to pile in" to Greece. Read the full story GREECE: Calamos-Exin predicts National Insurance bid hard to match
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