🤯 Picked by our AI, this stock rallied more than Nvidia this month, yielding 94% since MarchSee the stock

BNP Paribas to become top investor in Belgian insurer Ageas

Published 04/14/2024, 08:14 AM
Updated 04/15/2024, 10:53 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of BNP Paribas is seen outside a bank building in Paris, France, February 5, 2024. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

By Mathieu Rosemain and Kane Wu

PARIS/HONG KONG (Reuters) -BNP Paribas, the euro zone's biggest bank, has agreed to buy a 9% stake in Ageas from China's Fosun Group for about 730 million euros ($780 million), making it the biggest shareholder in the Belgian insurer.

The deal ends months of speculation about the future of Fosun's direct and indirect holdings in Ageas as the Chinese conglomerate speeds up asset sales to reduce its debt burden after an acquisition spree.

The acquisition, to be made via the insurance division BNP Paribas (OTC:BNPQY) Cardif, also fits BNPP's strategy of developing its insurance business.

The French lender's $16.3 billion sale last year of its U.S. retail activities has left it with funds for acquisitions.

"We see the strategic rationale for a combination of banking and insurance, especially in the Belgian market where the savings market favours products in insurance wrappers," said Johann Scholtz, an analyst with Morningstar.

"We are however not convinced that a small portfolio investment in Aegeas is the best strategy to exploit Belgian bancassurance," he added.

Ageas' shares were up by more than 3% in morning trading while BNPP's were close to 1% higher at 1040 GMT.


BNP Paribas has repeatedly said it was open to bolt-on acquisitions. It bought 5% of French listed insurer Scor last October for an undisclosed amount, according to a regulatory filing.

Ageas and BNP Paribas are long-time partners via a joint shareholding in AG Insurance, Belgium's leading insurer, in which Ageas owns 75% and BNP the remainder.

Last month, Ageas dropped plans to buy Direct Line after the British home and motor insurer turned down a revised 3.17 billion pound ($3.95 billion) takeover bid.

BNPP's statement on the size of the stake and value of the deal differed slightly from a separate statement by Fosun.

BNPP said it would acquire a first 4.8% tranche in coming days, with the rest of the 9% stake to be bought after receiving regulatory approvals.

Fosun International said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it agreed on April 12 to sell shares equivalent to a 8.19% stake in Ageas for up to 670 million euros.

The Chinese company said it intended to use proceeds of the sale for general working capital.

"The disposal is part of the company's effort of streamlining its portfolio and implementing core business-focused strategy. It also demonstrates the group's continuous determination on improving its financial performance and creating maximum value for its shareholders," Fosun said.

Fosun said it would still hold 1,952,524 shares in Ageas after the sale, equivalent to a stake of about 1%.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted as he walks behind the logo of BNP Paribas at the bank's building in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, France, February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

($1 = 0.9397 euros)

($1 = 0.8032 pounds)

Latest comments

Loading next article…
Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.