April 24, 2018 / 2:14 PM / a year ago

Slovenia's Triglav to buy Raiffeisen's Croatian insurance business

LJUBLJANA, April 24 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s largest insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav said it is buying Raiffeisen Bank’s Croatian insurance business, the latest in a spree of merger activity in the Balkans’ insurance sector.

Triglav said on Tuesday that it had agreed to purchase 75 percent of pension insurance firm Raiffeisen Mirovinsko Osiguravajuce Drustvo from Austria’s Raiffeisen, but did not say how much it was paying. Raiffeisen will keep the remaining 25 percent, Triglav said in a statement.

Raiffeisen said it had agreed with the buyer not to disclose the purchase price.

The deal follows the recent acquisitions of two other Croatian insurers and of Serbian insurer Energoprojekt Garant a.d. by Slovenian insurer Sava Re.

“With the purchase the Triglav Group will expand its operations and strengthen its position in Croatia in line with its development strategy,” Triglav said in a statement.

Slovenia’s prospects have improved since a banking crisis led to an overhaul of the banking sector in 2013, and forced the financial sector to clean up debts and improve efficiency, and economic growth has rebounded.

Austrian banks, however, have been cutting exposure to the region as they restructure after being hit badly by the global financial crisis.

Raiffeisen Mirovinsko Osiguravajuce Drustvo has around 70 million euros ($85 million) in funds under management, Triglav said.

It did not disclose the details of the deal but said the purchase will be completed after gaining regulatory approvals.

Triglav, which is 63 percent state owned, operates businesses in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Shares of Triglav gained 0.61 percent to 33 euros by 13.06 GMT, after the news was revealed, outperforming a 0.2 percent fall in Slovenia’s blue-chip SBI index. ($1 = 0.8195 euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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