International contest forms for Spanish bancassurance leader

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A keen international auction has developed for one of Spain’s leading bancassurance companies, with four insurers from different countries said to have made bids ahead of an imminent deadline for first-round bids for a controlling stake in Caser.

Unofficial sources claim that the Dutch leader NN is vying with Belgium’s Ageas and the Swiss Helvetia to give an international flavour to an auction in which the domestic competitor Santa Lucia is also involved, in an auction for around 60% stake in Caser being conducted by Nomura and Barclays.

It is said that the bids value the whole business at around €1.2bn. Caser generated a net profit of €87m on revenues of €1.63bn last year, of which around one-third came from life assurance and the remainder from a wide range of household, auto, health and other lines.

Set up in 1942, Caser has 40 offices across Spain servicing around 2.3 million customers. It has an enviable distribution network among most of Spain’s leading and while the stake sale comes from Bankia, Caixabank and Abanca, in conjunction with the French insurance company Covea, it is expected that its distribution arrangements with these and other banks, including Liberbank, Unicaja and Ibercaja will not significantly change.

None of the parties is willing to comment.

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