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Insurer rejects takeover reports

30 Jan 2017

QBE has rejected speculation it is considering a takeover offer, after a German newspaper reported Allianz is targeting the group in a $20 billion deal.

The Handelsblatt report says Allianz CEO Oliver Bate met QBE counterpart John Neal before Christmas and suggested an offer of $15 per share. Informal talks were continuing, the paper said.

QBE says in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning that its policy is not to comment on rumour or media speculation, but “QBE confirms it is not in discussions with Allianz or any other potential buyer”.

QBE shares, which closed at $12.33 on Friday, were trading at $12.89 by mid-morning today.

A company spokesman says QBE has a “clearly articulated strategy” that builds upon a differentiated position as one of only a handful of truly global insurers.

“Participation in industry consolidation is not a part of this strategy and there is no basis to speculation either that this strategy is under review or that QBE has received a corporate proposal,” he said.

Allianz said earlier this month said it is interested in takeovers and has an appetite for large companies with operations in Europe and the US.

“Only a big takeover would help us,” Mr Bate told the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “Buying smaller companies does not make sense for us.”

He said US companies are expensive and any proposed deal will take into account which companies are a good match, have a clean balance sheet and are affordable.

QBE reported gross written premium of $US8.1 billion ($10.7 billion) in the six months to June 30, with the North America division providing about 35% of the total, Europe 31% and Australia and New Zealand 23%. The remainder was split between emerging markets and Equator Re.

 - insurance NEWS

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