CVC Capital Partners is set to close a deal to acquire the insurance business of National Bank of Greece SA after a years-long search for a buyer, people familiar with the matter said.
The private equity firm could announce as soon as this week an agreement to buy a majority stake in Ethniki Insurance, according to people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.
A divestiture would help the National Bank of Greece replenish its capital cushions as it continues to clean bad loans from its balance sheet. It is also keeping the commitment made to the European Commission after the financial crisis to try to get rid of the company, which offers both life and non-life policies.
Representatives of the National Bank and CVC declined to comment.
This year has seen a wave of transactions in the insurance sector, driven by European giants seeking to divest peripheral businesses to streamline their operations. CVC, one of the private equity firms with the most experience in financial services transactions, has invested in lenders, insurers and payment companies. He already owns the French insurance broker April as well as the insurer specializing in damages Fidelis.
The National Bank of Greece is also selling a bad debt portfolio of 6.1 billion euros ($ 7.2 billion) as it seeks to cut its NPL ratio by more than half. Pacific Investment Management Co. and a consortium backed by Bain Capital are among the preliminary bidders for the assets, people with knowledge of the matter said. The loans are a legacy of the country’s decade-long debt crisis, which saw economic output fall by around 25% and unemployment rise to 30%.
– With the help of Paul Tugwell.
Copyright 2021 Bloomberg.
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