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Fitch Says German Public-Insurer Mergers Are Unlikely

German public-sector insurers, which include Versicherungskammer Bayern and Provinzial Nordwest Holding AG, are unlikely to merge, Fitch Ratings said.

“There is no requirement for such a high number of public-sector insurers,” the ratings firm said in a statement today, adding that it “views mergers and consolidation as unlikely given the ownership structure.”

German public-sector insurers, which are owned by regional savings banks and municipalities, had a 10.2 percent share of the country’s primary insurance market in 2012, according to Fitch. Munich-based Versicherungskammer Bayern is the biggest. Viewed together, they would form the country’s second-largest primary insurance group after Munich-based Allianz SE.

Allianz Chief Executive Officer Michael Diekmann said in an interview in October that tougher financial regulation will create acquisition opportunities for Europe’s biggest insurer. Provinzial Nordwest, Germany’s second-largest public-sector insurer, was the target of a takeover bid by Allianz in 2012, according to German newspaper FTD. In response, its owners started merger talks with counterpart Provinzial Rheinland Versicherung AG in December, which have since been called off.

“Because public-sector insurers operate in their own defined regions, synergies from mergers are likely to be smaller than for traditional insurers,” Fitch said. “Additionally, office disposals are unlikely as owners will ask for an office guarantee or block a merger.”

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