EIG Challenges Credit Agricoles Life’s Acquisition

Bulgaria’s Euroins Insurance Group (EIG) said on Thursday it finds the Greek central bank’s ban on the group’s proposed acquisition of Athens-based Credit Agricole Life unjustified, and committed to expanding its activities in Greece through its local branch.

“… EIG considers that the arguments of the Greek central bank are not described in a professional manner. Furthermore, the group believes that the Greek regulator has not applied the criteria for its evaluation of EIG with the necessary depth, objectiveness and integrity as the article 59 of the Solvency II directive stipulates,” EIG said in a statement.

EIG also described the arguments used by Bank of Greece as “discriminatory and tendentious”.

“Considering the above, EIG will carefully analyze the decision of the Greek regulator and decide further on the next appropriate steps,” EIG said.

On January 21, the Greek central bank’s Credit and Insurance Committee said that it has banned the proposed acquisition of a 100% stake in Credit Agricole Life by EIG. The regulator expressed concerns regarding the group’s financial condition and stability, as well as its lack of know-how and experience on the life insurance sector.

The regulator also disapproved of EIG’s heavy reliance on external borrowing.

EIG initially tried to acquire Credit Agricole Life in 2016, but the purchase was blocked by the Greek central bank, which quoted solvency capital issues of EIG’s Romanian unit as the reason for its decision.

Credit Agricole Life is a unit of France’s Credit Agricole.

EIG, a unit of Eurohold Bulgaria [BUL:4EH], has operations in nine countries outside Bulgaria – Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Macedonia, Greece and Georgia. The group has over 2.5 million clients with annual revenue of over 330 million euro ($374 million).

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