* Property and casualty insurer has C$1 billion to spend
* Seeking to bulk up commercial business
* Stock on a roll this year
TORONTO, Nov 16 Intact Financial Corp (IFC.TO)
is on the hunt for acquisitions to build on its leading
position in the Canadian property and casualty insurance
segment, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.
The Toronto-based company, which operates under banners
including Grey Power and belairdirect, seeks in particular to
bulk up its mid-market commercial P&C business, where it
currently holds a 4 percent market share.
"Consolidation of the Canadian industry ... is a big lever
to move the (growth) needle in the coming 12 to 24 months," CEO
Charles Brindamour said at an investor presentation.
"We're sitting on C$800 million ($784 million) of excess
capital. ... Clearly one of our priorities is to deploy that
He said Intact has total acquisition capacity of about C$1
While there has been little consolidation in the industry
of late, he said behind-the-scenes activity has picked up in
the past three months. He said that could in part reflect
anticipation of stricter capital reforms being contemplated by
Intact, which has an annual target of 10 percent growth in
operating earnings, could also consider dividend increases and
Company executives said Intact, which up until last year
was known as ING Canada, has raised its dividend annually, even
through the financial crisis. It last raised the payout in
The company posted a stronger-than-expected third-quarter
profit earlier this month, due to higher premiums and a
stronger underwriting performance.
Its shares, up 27 percent year-to-date, dropped 55 Canadian
cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$47.27 on the Toronto Stock Exchange
(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Frank McGurty)