Uniqa Raises $1 Billion in Share Sale Diluting Holders

Uniqa Insurance Group AG, Austria’s second-biggest insurer, sold 757 million euros ($1 billion) of new shares to fuel growth in eastern Europe and open itself to a broader group of investors.

Uniqa sold 94.8 million new shares, equivalent to 44 percent of the existing stock before the deal, for 8 euros apiece to institutional and retail investors, the Vienna-based company said in a statement today. The number of shares that are freely traded will rise to 35 percent from 6.9 percent as its core shareholders did not participate in the rights offering.

“Uniqa achieved another crucial milestone in its strategy to open the company to the capital markets,” the company said in the statement. The insurer wants to be included in the ATX, the main index of the Vienna Stock Exchange, as soon as possible.

Uniqa, which competes with market leader Vienna Insurance Group AG in Austria and eastern Europe, plans to double its clients by 2020 by expanding in the former communist bloc. Chief Executive Andreas Brandstetter, who cut jobs and replenished the company’s depleted capital base after taking office in 2011, said Uniqa may buy competitors in the region even as he ruled out “large, risky” purchases.

The main shareholders Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG, Austria Versicherungsverein auf Gegenseitigkeit Privatstiftung and Collegialitaet Versicherungsverein Privatstiftung did not participate in the share sale. RZB’s stake will fall to 31.4 percent, Austria Privatstiftung’s to 30.6 percent and Collegialitaet’s to 2.3 percent in the deal, Uniqa said. They didn’t sell shares in the transaction and pledged not to do so for the next 12 months.

Uniqa fell 3.5 percent to 8.155 euros by 9:13 a.m. in Vienna trading. That took the shares’ decline to 22 percent since the company said Sept. 9 it will go ahead with the offering this year.

Deutsche Bank AG, Morgan Stanley and Raiffeisen Centrobank AG were global coordinators and bookrunners for the transaction. Barclays Plc, Berenberg Bank AG and UBS AG acted as co-bookrunners. KBW advised the company.