Spain's Mapfre buys Direct Line affiliates for 550 mn euros
Spanish international insurance company Mapfre said Thursday it had bought the German and Italian arms of British auto insurer Direct Line for 550 million euros ($705 million).
The deal will give the company 1.6 million new clients and insurance premiums worth 714 million euros in two major European markets, Mapfre said in a statement.
"The Italian and German assets acquired are absolutely strategic for Mapfre, strengthening the two main lines of our global growth plan, allowing us to increase our presence in Europe and, at the same time, it fits with our move in to digital business," Mapfre chairman Antonio Huertas said.
Direct Line, whose brands include Churchill, Privilege and the Green Flag roadside recovery service, is the market leader in auto insurance in Italy with a market share of around 28 percent and nearly 500 million euros in annual insurance premiums.
It occupies third place in the German auto insurance market with a market share of around 13 percent and over 200 million euros in annual insurance premiums.
Direct Line's Italian affiliate has around one million clients while its German arm has roughly 600,000 customers.
The British company had reportedly been in talks with at least three other suitors for the two affiliates, including Germany's Allianz and France's Axa.
Mapfre is present in 47 countries on five continents. Last year it posted a net profit of over 790 million euros.
The company has over 36,000 employees and over 23 million clients.
© 2014 AFP