Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA (Unipol), currently Italy’s third-biggest insurer and ICMIF member, plans to raise up to 1.1 billion EUR by selling new shares as it continues with plans to merge with Premafin Assicurazioni, Fondiaria-SAI and Milano Assicurazioni. This will make Unipol Italy’s second-largest insurance group (by premiums).
On January 13, 2012, Unipol signed a letter of intent to take control of Premafin and merge with Fondiaria and Fondiaria’s unit Milano Assicurazioni SpA thus ending the Ligresti family’s control of the group. The Ligresti family is currently the majority owner of Premafin, a debt-laden holding company, which in turn controls Fondiaria-SAI and Milano Assicurazioni.
However, the initial proposal had to be withdrawn after Italy’s market regulator CONSOB indicated that the proposal would hurt minority shareholders in Fondiaria while favouring the Ligresti family.
A revised deal was announced on January 29, in which Unipol will undertake a rights issue allowing them to assume control of Premafin, subsequently Premafin will undertake a €400m capital increase at Fondiaria-SAI and finally Milano Assicurazioni will be absorbed into the Group.
“The integration project aims to safeguard current and future solvency of Premafin and Fondiaria-SAI and create at the same time a top national insurance operator capable of competing effectively with main national and European rivals and of creating value for all shareholders,” Unipol said.
The planned merger would create a new giant in the Italian insurance market. Analysts believe that the resulting Unipol group would control around 32 percent of the non-life sector and 10 percent of the life insurance.
Unipol and Premafin said they expected the four-way merger to be completed by the end of 2012.