* Provinzial Nordwest CEO stabbed with screwdriver
* Allianz eyeing acquisition of Provinzial Nordwest-sources
* Provinzial NW Germany's 2nd biggest public-sector insurer
(Adds details, background)
By Elke Ahlswede
Muenster, Germany , Dec 5 The chief executive of
German public insurer and takeover target Provinzial Nordwest
was stabbed on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with employees to
discuss the future of the company.
Ulrich Ruether was taken to hospital after being stabbed in
the chest with a screwdriver by a masked assailant in an
underground parking lot, said employee works council leader
Albert Roer. Police said he was released from hospital shortly
It was not immediately clear if the attack was linked to the
possible sale of the insurer to German market leader Allianz
, which financial sources have told Reuters may be
ready to offer more than 2.25 billion euros ($2.94 billion).
Ruether had been due to meet with employees on Wednesday,
after media reports about a possible sale emerged late last
Muenster public prosecutors on Wednesday said they were
aware of the attack and confirmed that Ruether was in hospital,
but declined to give further details.
Services trade union Verdi on Wednesday said it knew of
management plans to sell Provinzial Nordwest, Germany's
second-biggest public sector insurer, to Allianz. The union said
a 2.25 billion-euro price tag was credible.
Verdi had demanded a pledge from Provinzial NW's
public-sector owners not to sell the insurer to Allianz, saying
that 6,000 jobs could be at stake.
Germany's public sector banks and insurers have a special
status under German law and traditionally have closed ranks to
ward off any threat of influence from the private sector.
The union said a decision on whether to sell the insurer
could be taken as early as next week.
Provinzial Nordwest, which is owned by regional savings
banks and local government authorities, has around 3 million
customers, with premiums largely balanced between
property-casualty and life insurance businesses, at 1.6 billion
euros and 1.4 billion euros respectively.
($1 = 0.7642 euros)
(Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger, Matthias Inverardi and
Jonathan Gould; Editing by Greg Mahlich)