EU Approves Fortis’ Portuguese Bancassurance Deal

January 20, 2005

The European Union has approved a deal between Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch financial services giant, and Banco Comercial Português (BCP), Portugal’s biggest private bank and a major insurer.

The approval gives Fortis the go-ahead to proceed with the acquisition of a majority 51 percent stake in BCP and to implement its plans to form a joint venture to establish a new bancassurance subsidiary, Millenniumbcp Fortis Insurance Group. The new group becomes the market leader in Portuguese life insurance. The parties are aiming to finalize the agreement and transfer of ownership in the coming weeks.

The announcement noted that in 2003 BCP’s bancassurance activities registered 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in premium, of which 1.1 euros ($1.43 billion) was in the life sector, giving the bank a 21 percent market share. Non-life premiums were around 200 million euros ($260 million).

“In Non-life Millenniumbcp Fortis enjoys an interesting position (overall market share of 4 percent and 30 percent in the bancassurance channel), including a leading position in Health insurance,” said the announcement.

Life technical reserves amounted to 5.8 billion euros ($7.54 billion) at the end of 2003.

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