The targets of the acquisition are life and non-life insurance companies, investment firms, pension funds and service companies of the AXA Group in these three countries. The purchase price for this acquisition is around EUR 1 billion. The operation is subject to legal approval.
UNIQA CEO Andreas BRANDSTETTER said:
"We have been aware of the AXA companies for a long time; they are an excellent fit with our long-term strategy. Their strong focus on profitable retail business and balanced product mix complement our existing business and make us the number five in the growing Central and Eastern Europe region."
As number seven in CEE, UNIQA currently has a comprehensive network in 15 markets, where it offers its entire range of insurance solutions to 6.8 million private and corporate customers.
UNIQA has almost 20 years of experience in the Polish, Czech and Slovakian markets. When the long-term UNIQA 2.0 strategy program, which will run until mid-2020, was unveiled in 2011, the company defined the countries of Central and Eastern Europe as a second core market - after Austria. The Group operates under the UNIQA brand in all countries except Russia.
The economy in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia has performed well in the last few years. With growth rates averaging 3% in the last decade, the gross domestic product of these countries is significantly outperforming Austria's (1.6%). "Our analysis shows that growth will continue and remain significantly higher than Austria's in the long term. These acquisitions therefore represent an investment in sustainable and ongoing growth," said Brandstetter. Whereas the Austrian insurance market is set to grow by 1.5% next year, forecasts have significantly higher expectations for Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia at 6.2%, 6.8% and 2.7% respectively.
UNIQA is currently the tenth largest company on the market in Poland with 1.5 million customers, the sixth largest in the Czech Republic with 800,000 customers and the fourth in Slovakia with 500,000 customers. For its part, AXA will add 3.2 million customers in Poland, 800,000 in the Czech Republic and 750,000 in Slovakia, making UNIQA number five in Poland and Czech Republic and number four in Slovakia respectively. "We will significantly improve our market position in each one of these markets," said Andreas Brandstetter.
"AXA perfectly fits for us: the companies are superbly managed and have a strong market position. This transaction will bring us new private and corporate customers in three growth markets in which we are already highly profitable." The product mix is almost balanced, with 35% in life insurance and 65% in property business.
The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The completion of the transaction is subject to all necessary regulatory approvals. UNIQA was advised on the transaction by HSBC. The HSBC team was led by Graeme Lewis, Ulrich Gericke, Shashank Bhalla and Pascal Ehrler."