AXA buys stake in Colombia's Colpatria for 259 mln eur

PARIS Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:59am EST

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PARIS Nov 11 (Reuters) - French insurance group AXA said on Monday it will buy a 51 percent stake in the insurance operations of Colombian group Colpatria for 259 million euros ($346 million) in a move to enter the Colombian insurance market.

Colpatria's unit, called Colpatria Seguros, is Colombia's fourth biggest insurance company, with a market share of 7 percent, AXA said in a statement.

"This acquisition gives AXA a unique opportunity to enter the fast-growing Colombian insurance market with well-established positions in all lines of business, while benefiting from the support of a solid and reputable local partner," Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO of AXA, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)