Fosun Eyes Second Shot to Buy Greek Insurer If Winning Bid FailsBy and
Exin, Calamos dispute puts winning bid for Ethniki in doubt
Exin has until end-March to complete 718 million-euro purchase
Fosun International Ltd came up short in its bid to buy National Bank of Greece SA’s insurance unit, but the Chinese conglomerate is still willing to swoop in if the winning bid collapses, albeit at a different price this time.
Exin Financial Services Holding BV and Calamos Family Partners Inc won a tender to buy a 75 percent stake in the Greek lender’s Ethniki Insurance unit in June after the venture’s 718 million-euro ($882 million) bid was the highest. Yet there could still be an opening for Fosun after an acrimonious split in the consortium. Calamos has filed legal action against Exin, which has until the end of the month to provide the financing to complete the transaction.
“Fosun has continuously been interested in becoming the controlling shareholder of Ethniki Insurance,” Kang Lan, Fosun executive director and senior vice president, said in a written response to questions by Bloomberg. “Fosun’s strategy and strong confidence in the company were well recognized by the seller. Therefore, we expect to be considered if Exin failed to complete the deal.”
Still, Fosun will “need to re-evaluate the financials of the company before providing an updated offer,” according to Kang, who is also chairwoman of Fosun’s insurance group.
Shanghai-based Fosun has invested more than 200 million euros in Greece through its direct holding in Athens-based luxury goods retailer Folli Follie Group and indirectly through Thomas Cook Group Plc and Club Med SAS, according to the company. It’s also participating in a joint venture led by Lamda Development SA that will turn Hellenikon, the former Athens airport site twice the size of New York’s Central Park, into a luxury coastal resort.
Ethniki Insurance is Greece’s biggest insurance company, with presence also in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus. National Bank was forced to sell the stake in the company under restructuring plans it agreed with the European Commission to sell non-core assets after receiving state aid.