BUSINESS

Four bidders for Ethniki Asfalistiki

EVGENIA TZORTZI

Four companies submitted non-binding bids to acquire an 80 percent stake in Ethniki National Insurance (also known as Ethniki Asfalistiki), a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece, according to  sources.

The four are investment funds CVC Capital Partners, I3CP, Lone Star and Centerbridge. Information about the last bidder had not been confirmed by Sunday night.

This means that not taking part in the bidding are Canbada’s Fairfax Group _ which was expected _ but also China’s Fosun. There is still some ambiguity about the latter.

CVC Capital Partners is considered one of the largest private equity funds, with $82.5 billion under management and significant presence in the US, asia and 15 European countries. CVC holds stakes in two insurance companies, in the UK and France. In Greece, it has a stake in Metropolitan and Hygeia hospitals, through the Hellenic Healthcare Group.

Lone Star, a US investment fund with over $70 billion under management has invested in real estate, equity and financial firms around the world, while Centerbridge, with $25 billion under management, has been active in Greece’s non-performing loans market.

Finally, I3CP is a special purpose vehicle connected to Leadenhall Capital Partners, a joint venturewhich specializes in insurance and reinsurance sector investments.

The National Bank’s advisers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, will evaluate the bids and binding offers are expected in January. According to sources, National Bank values Ethniki Asfalistiki (the whole company, not just the stake for sale) at 750 million euros ($825 million)

Ethniki Asfalisitiki is the largest general insurance company in Greece. Nine-month results saw pre-tax profits rise 18.2 percent, to 59.2 million euros, without taking account of the cost of voluntary layoffs.
 

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