July 28, 2014 / 6:40 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Generali to complete GPH joint venture buyout by Jan 2015

(Adds details, background)

MILAN, July 28 (Reuters) - Italian insurer Generali will complete the buyout of GPH, an eastern European joint venture it holds with Czech group PPF, by purchasing the 24 percent stake it does not yet own for 1.235 billion euros as planned, it said on Monday.

The transaction will be carried out by January 2015, it said in a statement.

The announcement comes two weeks after Generali said Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual would buy its Swiss private bank unit BSI, completing a disposal plan in which it has sold 3.7 billion euros of non-insurance assets in about 18 months, just shy of its 4 billion euros target.

Generali said last year it would buy out the 49 percent stake held in GPH from Czech group PPF for 2.5 billion euros in two stages, increasing its exposure to the fast-growing central and eastern European region, Generali’s fourth-largest market.

It acquired the first 25 percent holding in March 2013, using cash raised through a 30-year bond, and had said it would complete the buyout at the end of 2014.

CEO Mario Greco, who took the helm of Europe’s third largest insurer two years ago after the ousting of his predecessor Giovanni Perissinotto, had said when the deal was first announced in January 2013 that the group would need no external resources to fund the second tranche of the transaction.

GPH is a leading insurer on the Central Eastern Europe market with a leadership position in many of the ten countries where it currently operates.

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, editing by David Evans

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