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VIG aquired Bosnian life insurer MERKUR Osiguranje

Vienna Insurance Group bought on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange, for about EUR 13 million, a package of 6,000 shares of the Bosnian life insurer MERKUR Osiguranje, the local subsidiary of Graz-based insurer Merkur International Holding AG, informed the local financial news portal Biznis Info.

In October 2017, Vienna Insurance Group informed it will double its market share on Bosnian insurance market, agreeing to fully acquire the Sarajevo-based life insurer MERKUR Osiguranje.

"A purchase agreement on the full acquisition of MERKUR Osiguranje was signed on 30 October 2017. The transaction was closed on 8 February 2018 following approval by the local authorities. As a result, Vienna Insurance Group moves up from eighth to third market position in Bosnia and Herzegovina", as the Austrian insurer announced on Monday in a press release.

Headquartered in the territory of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, MERKUR was set up in 2003. Its product portfolio mainly comprises life insurance sold through financial intermediaries such as banks and insurance brokers. In 2016 the company recorded gross written premiums of around EUR 14 million. Overall, MERKUR has a 4.4% market share in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but accounts for about 21% of the life insurance market.

"The purchase will enable VIG to extend its product range in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has so far mainly been centred on the non-life business. Represented by two Group companies, VIG is now ranked second in the country's life insurance segment, with a market share of over 25%".

On the other hand, VIG is present in the country since 2011 through its Republika Srpska-based unit WIENER Osiguranje, the former JAHORINA Osiguranje. WIENER Osiguranje generated gross written premiums of around EUR 16 million in 2016, and has a market share of about 5%.

"In combination with Group company WIENER Osiguranje, which was set up in 2011 and operates primarily in Republika Srpska, the Vienna Insurance Group has now significantly widened its scope in Bosnia and Herzegovina".

According to VIG, in the third quarter of 2017, the two independent companies generated combined premium income of around EUR 26 million.

Author: Vlad BOLDIJAR on 13.02.2018

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