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The Euler Hermes Group has increased its stake up to 100% in the Finnish credit insurer Finnish Credit Insurance Company Ltd (FCIC). Previously, the company was half held by If Skadef írs íkring Holding AB (publ), headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

The FCIC is the biggest credit insurer in Finland and offers protection to Finnish companies from bad debt losses to domestic and export customers.

“The takeover of the shares is an important step to broaden the presence of Euler Hermes in the Nordic countries,” says Jochen D ímler, member of the board of the group’s German subsidiary, Euler Hermes Kreditversicherung, the stakeholder. Experts predict a large growth potential for credit insurance in the coming years partly due to the strong export orientation of the Finnish economy. But demand for credit insurance should also rise in the medium term as a result of the corporate insolvency trend: since 2002 the number of failures has been rising in Finland. Nevertheless the growth rate in Finland is still below that in other Nordic countries. Norway, for instance, leads the field in terms of insolvencies for 2002 and 2003 with annual increases of 25 % respectively. Sweden posted a 5% increase in 2003. In Denmark the figure for corporate failures went down by 3% last year after a steady rise from 2000 on.

The Euler Hermes Group has been developing credit insurance business in the Nordic countries since 1992. Euler Hermes Nordic based in Stockholm is the number two in Sweden, Norway and Denmark with a market share of 30%.