Ace to Buy Fianzas for $285 Million to Expand in Mexico

Ace Ltd. (ACE), the Swiss insurer with operations in more than 50 nations, agreed to buy Fianzas Monterrey from New York Life Insurance Co. for $285 million in cash to expand in Mexico.

Fianzas Monterrey is Mexico’s second-largest surety lines company, Zurich-based Ace said today in a statement. Surety insurers provide guarantees on construction and industrial projects.

Ace Chief Executive Officer Evan Greenberg has been expanding through acquisitions to grow in businesses such as U.S. crop insurance and build market share in emerging markets like Malaysia. He agreed in 2010 to buy New York Life units in Hong Kong and South Korea.

“Surety is a growth area for Ace, and Mexico is an attractive market with a strong economic outlook,” Greenberg said in the statement.

New York Life CEO Ted Mathas has been narrowing the company’s focus to life insurance and investments in the U.S. and Mexico. His company obtained Fianzas Monterrey in 2000 when it purchased life insurer Seguros Monterrey from Aetna Inc. and Grupo Financiero Bancomer SA.

“While Fianzas Monterrey is an extremely well run and profitable business it is non-core for New York Life and outside of our primary focus,” Mathas said in a separate statement.

Regional Offices

Fianzas Monterrey has three regional offices and 25 branch offices and distributes its products through a network of almost 600 independent agents and brokers, Ace said. The Mexico City- based unit was established in 1943.

Ace advanced 0.6 percent to $75.57 at 1:46 p.m. in New York trading. Greenberg’s firm has climbed about 7.8 percent this year, compared with the 15 percent gain in the 75-company Bloomberg World Insurance Index. (BWINSU) New York life is owned by its policyholders.

New York Life’s bank on the deal was Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), and in the insurer got legal advice from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Ace was advised by Willis Group Holdings Plc and Mayer Brown LLP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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