WINERSTETISCHE BUYS BULGARIAN ESTATES INSURER
The deal for the sale of the general insurance company Bulgarian Estates and of the life insurance company Bulgarian Estates to the Austrian holding group Winerstetische is about to be signed, the BANKER weekly learned. A team of Austria's insurance giant, including Ivailo Kudrev (who was holding negotiations on behalf of Winerstetische for the purchase the local insurer Jupiter in the beginning of 2002), is currently having final talks with the managers of Bulgarian Estates. The two sides are now discussing the financial situation, market share and prospects for development of the two companies within the structure of Bulgarian Estates. The deal will be probably closed by end-August, pundits claim. However, the Chairman of Bulgarian Estate's Board of Directors Dancho Djikov flatly refused to comment any details from the negotiations. Winerstetische is one of the leading insurance companies in Europe, based in Vienna. The company, established in 1824, works with private clients and institutions. It has partners in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Eight per cent of the company's capital is held by Bank Austria, and 11% is in the hands of small shareholders.For quite a long time Austria's giant Winerstetische has been showing interest towards the Bulgarian insurance market. Its managers almost negotiated the purchase of a 72% stake in the local insurer Jupiter, but gave up the deal, assessing that the company's economic performance did not meet their requirements. Afterwards Winerstetische bought an information memorandum for the State Insurance Institute (DZI). After surveying the initial data, however, the Austrians gave up that deal, too, because the state insurer's financial situation and market positions did not satisfy them.Winerstetische started surveying Bulgarian Estates back in January, 2002. According to pundits, it was discontinued in the beginning of February when the Austrians redirected their attention to Jupiter and DZI. After the purchase deals on the other two insurers failed, Winerstetische renewed its interest in Bulgarian Estates.The gross premium proceeds of the general insurance company Bulgarian Estates for the first quarter of 2002 totaled BGN2.5MN, accounting for a 2% share on the local insurance market. In the same period the life insurance company Bulgarian Estates reported premium proceeds of BGN0.3MN, ensuring it a 2.23% market share.