Allianz, Axa, Aviva Show Interest in Unipol Assets, Cimbri Says

Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA said Allianz SE, Axa SA and Aviva Plc are among insurers interested in buying assets the firm needs to sell to comply with regulator requests after it won control of Fondiaria-SAI SpA.

“Unipol received expression of interest for assets on sale from 10 to 15 companies,” Chief Executive Officer Carlo Cimbri told reporters in Milan today. Possible bidders also include Zurich Insurance Group AG, Societa Cattolica di Assicurazioni SCRL and several private-equity firms, he said.

Unipol is merging with Premafin Finanziaria SpA, Fondiaria and its unit Milano Assicurazioni SpA to become Italy’s second-biggest insurer after Assicurazioni Generali SpA. The Bologna, Italy-based insurer must sell divisions or companies of the newly merged entity that generate 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion) of gross premiums to comply with antitrust requests. The CEO didn’t disclose the possible value of the assets.

Unipol plans to sell the assets in two blocks, according to Cimbri. One of them includes some assets of Milano Assicurazioni and Fondiaria’s unit Liguria Assicurazioni, while the other block includes Milano’s assets and Sasa Assicurazioni. In the next few days the company will send an information memo to the potential bidders and it expects to receive preliminary non-binding offers within weeks, Cimbri said.

Unipol, which is waiting for the green light from Italy’s insurer regulator IVASS to complete the merger, plans to eliminate Fondiaria and Milano saving shares “if there are fair conditions” when the deal is completed, Cimbri said. “This is the next step to simplify the structure,” he said.

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