* United Capital withdrew from deal in December - Vienna
* Mystery around buyer had triggered resistance in Bulgaria
* Woes in Romania, Italy hit 2013 group results
VIENNA, Jan 29 The mysterious buyer for
Bulgaria's largest private pension fund withdrew from the deal
last month, seller Vienna Insurance Group said on
Wednesday, adding it was now in no rush to divest the profitable
The selected buyer, UK-registered company United Capital,
had said in July it planned to file soon for regulatory
approvals with Bulgarian authorities.
But the lack of public information about the buyer had
raised concerns in Bulgaria, and the ruling Socialists had urged
the financial regulator to halt the deal.
"It is correct that the potential buyer decided in December
to withdraw. That was not envisioned in the contract," Vienna
Insurance Chief Executive Peter Hagen told a news conference for
preliminary 2013 results at emerging Europe's biggest insurer.
He said Doverie, which would have a record 2013 profit of
nearly 8 million euros, was not a strategic fit and Vienna would
review any other good offers it gets for the business.
Vienna last year agreed to sell its 92.6 percent stake in
Doverie to United Capital, which had no stock market listing,
website, or phone number.
The Austrian group released results ahead of schedule on
Tuesday night, reporting pretax profit dropped a bigger than
expected 40 percent to around 350 million euros ($478 million)
due to problems in Italy and Romania.
Nevertheless, it proposed raising its dividend by 10 cents a
share to 1.30 euros, more than analysts had expected.
Berenberg analyst Sami Taipalus called the results "a small
disappointment". Vienna's stock was down 1.6 percent to 36.11
euros at 1018 GMT, while the Stoxx European insurance index
was up 0.5 percent.
Hagen said the extent of writedowns the firm would book for
its Romania business in the fourth quarter were still unclear,
but added the operation there should return to profit this year.