UNIQA buys the Serbian and Croatian BALOISE subsidiaries

23 October 2013 — Daniela GHETU
uniqa7The Austrian UNIQA Group is expanding its presence in the ex Yugoslavian countries by buying the BALOISE Group's subsidiaries in Croatia and Serbia, BASLER osiguranje Zagreb and BASLER osiguranja, Belgrade. Representatives of the two companies have signed a purchase agreement for EUR 75 million, announced BALOISE.

In Croatia, BASLER osiguranje Zagreb provides a comprehensive range of insurance solutions for private and business customers. By the end of 1H2013, the company ranked 7th in the Croatian market, holding a 4% market share and GWP of EUR 26.6 million.

In Serbia BALOISE owns BASLER osiguranja, which focuses on the market for private customers. The company ranks 15th in the Serbian market and reported for 1H2013 GWP of EUR 1.9 million, holding a market share of less than 1%.

The two subsidiaries achieved a combined business volume of about EUR 55.4 million in 2012.

The UNIQA Group is one of the leading insurance groups in its core markets in Austria and Eastern Europe. UNIQA is the strongest insurance brand in Austria and is very well positioned in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) markets. In fact, UNIQA already own subsidiaries both in Croatia and Serbia, with a 7% share of the Serbian non-life market and an about 3% share of the Croatian insurance market.

BALOISE now intends to focus its activities even more on its core markets. With the acquisition, UNIQA is strengthening its position in the south-eastern region of Europe and the Croatian and Serbian markets.

BALOISE anticipates a one-time loss of EUR 24 million to result out of this transaction, which is expected to be concluded in 2014. According Bloomberg, the Swiss group's representatives have stated that the sale of its units is a result of the dissatisfaction with the results obtained by the units which failed to achieve target returns. Thus, while BASLER osiguranja was expected to break even in 2014, the earliest, the valuation of the Croatian unit was downsized in 2011, after reassessing the unit's growth prospects.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the supervisory authorities.

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