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A €51.2mn equity facility from the EBRD to Uniqa will enable the leading Austrian insurance company to step up its expansion to the east.

The new agreement builds on previous EBRD financing to Uniqa, extending the framework to a total of €70mn that could be used to make investments across all of the bank’s 27 countries of operations.

Uniqa director general Konstantin Klien says: “By working with the EBRD we have an opportunity to meet our business objectives to expand in countries across central and eastern Europe, and this deal is an important confirmation of our strategy. The EBRD clearly sees the merit in our plan to concentrate on this area as a core market, and now we have the means to follow through.”  

Kurt Geiger, EBRD Director for Financial Institutions, said that the development of a strong and healthy insurance industry in central and eastern Europe is an important element in the transition of the financial services sector.  The EBRD is pleased to work with Uniqa and share the investment business risk in their strategy for the region, adds Geiger.

The EBRD and Uniqa have worked together since 1998, when the original multi-project framework agreement was signed. It was for the EBRD to invest up to €18.8mn in Uniqa’s insurance subsidiaries in the <

  • xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic. So far the EBRD has invested €2.7mn for a stake of 16.7% in Uniqa Pojstovna, Czech Republic, and €2.8mn for 20% in Uniqa Osiguranje, Croatia.

    The Uniqa Group is the leading composite insurance company in Austria, with a market share just over 20%. Its main objective is to increase its share in central and eastern Europe, and has made expansion in the area a top priority. Poland is the largest insurance market in the region, with premium volumes of over US$4.5bn as of end 2002. However, average insurance penetration, at 3% of GDP, still lags behind the western European standard of 8%.