12° Nicosia,
23 July, 2024

Deal in the works for CNP Cyprus

Latest in the Cypriot insurance scene – Hellenic Bank sole Cypriot contender amid foreign interest

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

The subsidiary of the French insurance giant CNP Assurances, CNP Cyprus Insurance Holdings, is currently in discussions for a potential change in ownership. In the context of the ongoing talks regarding the sale of CNP Cyprus, K has learned that there is a Cypriot contender, in addition to foreign interest, namely Hellenic Bank.

Besides Hellenic Bank, other contenders for one of the largest insurance companies in Cyprus include BNP Paribas. Rumors suggest interest from Societe Generale, although it's uncertain whether it remains valid. Investment funds are closely monitoring the Cyprus division of CNP, with a history of occasional interest in significant investments in Cyprus over the past 5-6 years, primarily at the banking level. The discussions for the sale of CNP's Cyprus subsidiary began around two months ago, and the timeframe for a conclusion remains unknown. The rationale behind the discussions to sell CNP Assurances' Cyprus subsidiary, CNP Cyprus, is unclear. In 2019, the French giant expressed confidence in the Cypriot market by acquiring 100% of CNP Cyprus, investing almost 98 million to acquire the remaining 49.9% from Bank of Cyprus, which it had held since the days of Laiki Bank in 2013. The other 50.1% was already owned by the French giant CNP Assurances. Although the exact sale amount for CNP Cyprus remains undisclosed, a rough estimate based on the 2019 transaction suggests it could be in the vicinity of 200 million euros.

K contacted CNP Cyprus' headquarters in France, CNP Assurances, via email and received a "no comment" response. Simultaneously, K also reached out to the management of the insurance group's Cypriot subsidiary, CNP Cyprus Insurance Holdings, and received a similar "no comment" response regarding the sale discussions.

There is a history of cooperative efforts, albeit of a different nature, between Hellenic Bank and CNP Cyprus in 2019. At that time, discussions positioned CNP Cyprus in a leading role, while Hellenic Bank's two insurers played a secondary role, as Hellenic had not yet decided the fate of its own insurers. Since then, Hellenic Bank decided to acquire 100% of Hellenic Alico Life by purchasing the 27.5% stake held by MetLife in the insurance company. Hellenic Bank now owns two wholly-owned insurance companies, Pancyprian and Hellenic Life. With Eurobank entering as a protagonist in Hellenic Bank's use of CNP Cyprus in the entire scheme, questions arise about the potential sale of CNP Cyprus to Hellenic Bank.

The results of its two insurers appear healthy based on Hellenic Bank's latest results for the nine months ending in 2023. Net income at Hellenic Bank from insurance operations for the nine months of 2023 was 13 million, compared to 13.2 million in the nine months of 2022, representing a 1% year-on-year decrease. As per the Bank's records, the net result of insurance operations was higher in the nine months ending September 2023 due to increased income from insurance operations and lower expenses (mainly claims and administrative expenses).

This increase was offset by the rise in insurance operations expenses in the nine months ending September 2023, resulting from changes in interest rates and yield curves.

Regarding investment performance, CNP Asfalistiki manages its assets through direct holdings in bonds, equities, real estate, and other investments, as well as holdings in mutual fund units with bonds, real estate, and other indirect investments.

The company reported no securitization investments in the 2022 financial results for CNP Insurance Ltd. As presented in the 2022 results, the loss recognized directly in equity was EUR 6,341 thousand (compared to a loss of EUR 817 thousand in 2021).

In general, the loss on the company's investments in the Solvency & Financial Report 2022 amounted to 5.04% compared to the profit in 2021, where the corresponding return was 0.12%. The best-performing investments were in direct equity and real estate.

CNP Asfalistiki's capital position under the Solvency 2 Directive at the end of 2022 increased to 281% compared to 272% at the end of 2021 and remained consistently high. The company stated in its 2022 results that "the company's capital position remained resilient to pressures."

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for brevity and clarity]

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