Generali to take full control of German unit

MILAN Tue Jul 9, 2013 4:23pm EDT

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MILAN (Reuters) - Generali (GASI.MI), Italy's leading insurer, plans to buy the 7 percent of Generali Deutschland it does not already own, as part of a plan to take full control of its strategic assets and simplify the group.

In a statement on Tuesday, Generali said it had agreed to buy a 3 percent stake in Generali Deutschland, Germany's second-largest insurer, from private investors and then launch a "squeeze-out" to acquire the remaining 4 percent.

Generali said it would delist Generali Deutschland after the transactions, which would allow it to get its hands on all the German insurer's profits and book synergies.

Generali has been undergoing a radical transformation since Chief Executive Mario Greco took office last August.

Germany is one of the Italian group's three biggest markets, generating some 25 percent of its premiums.

Generali will pay 171 million euros ($218.64 million) for the 3 percent stake in Generali Deutschland, and has launched a placement of 15.5 million of its own shares to fund the deal.

"The placement is going very well," a financial source close to the deal said.

The delisting of Generali Deutschland, which in 2012 posted 504 million euros in net profit, is expected in the first quarter of 2014.

Greco pledged earlier this year to raise 4 billion euros ($5.1 billion) by shedding non-core assets to restore value at a group, which has been hit by recession in its core Italian market.

UBS advised Generali on the stake purchase. The share placement is being run by BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

($1 = 0.7821 euros)

(Reporting by Isla Binnie and Stephen Jewkes; Editing byn Steve Orlofsky)

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