July 7, 2014 / 5:46 AM / 3 years ago

Swiss insurer Helvetia to buy peer Nationale Suisse

ZURICH, July 7 (Reuters) - 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 said.

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 insurer said.

$1 = 0.8953 Swiss Francs Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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