ZURICH, July 7 Swiss insurer Helvetia
said on Monday it had agreed to buy Nationale Suisse to
create an insurance company with estimated annual profits of
more than 500 million Swiss francs ($560 million).
Helvetia said it would make a public tender offer equivalent
to 80 Swiss francs per Nationale Suisse share, representing a
premium of 26 percent to Friday's closing price.
Nationale Suisse's board of directors said they welcomed the
offer, and recommended their shareholders accept it.
The offer is made up of a cash component of 52 Swiss francs
and an equity component of 0.0680 newly issued Helvetia shares,
Helvetia, which already owns an 18.7 percent stake in
Nationale Suisse, said the deal would allow for annual cost
savings of 100 million to 200 million Swiss francs.
The transaction is expected to close in the second half of
this year, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, and
an offer prospectus will be published on Aug. 8, the Swiss
($1 = 0.8953 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)