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23 May, 2024
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Hellenic Bank's pursuit of CNP Cyprus uncovers uncertainties

CNP Cyprus reports impressive 15.9% premium income increase

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

The exclusive negotiations between Hellenic Bank and CNP Cyprus Insurance Holdings, a subsidiary of the French insurance powerhouse CNP Assurances, have captured attention for their high stakes and strategic importance.

Initially a battleground between Hellenic Bank and the German insurance titan ERGO Insurance Group, the field has now narrowed, with ERGO bowing out, leaving Hellenic Bank to pursue CNP Cyprus solo. While Hellenic Bank's offer reportedly outshone ERGO's, there are lingering uncertainties, even within Hellenic Bank's proposal, as both parties navigate through negotiation terms. With a multimillion-euro deal on the table, poised to reshape Cyprus' insurance landscape, these discussions carry significant weight and anticipation.

In the financial arena, CNP CYPRUS's performance for 2023 showcases a commendable uptick, with premium income surging by a notable 15.9% compared to the previous year. Clocking in at €236 million for 2023, up from €204 million in 2022, this rise underscores the company's resilience and growth trajectory. Meanwhile, the overarching CNP Assurances Group presents a robust financial picture, boasting a remarkable 65% increase in net profits, reaching €1.55 billion for 2023, alongside a solid coverage ratio of 253%, signifying steadfast financial standing.

Should Hellenic Bank successfully clinch the acquisition of CNP Cyprus, it would not only solidify its position as a dominant force in Cyprus' insurance sphere but also further augment its portfolio, adding to its existing insurance entities, Pan-Cyprian and Hellenic Life.

Delving deeper into Hellenic Bank's financial narrative, the fiscal report for the year ending December 31, 2023, reveals a nuanced tale. While there was a slight downturn in net insurance income to €14.3 million, down 23% from the previous year, this dip is attributed to escalated net expenses from reinsurance contracts, albeit partly offset by buoyant insurance revenue. Despite facing headwinds from financial expenses tied to insurance, including interest rate fluctuations, the bank remains steadfast in its pursuit of financial excellence.

Beyond the confines of Hellenic Bank's purview, Eurobank, its major shareholder, also commands attention in the insurance arena. With a strategic 20% stake in Eurolife FFH Insurance Group, Eurobank strategically leverages its foothold in the insurance sector, amplifying its offerings through Bancassurance operations. During a journalistic rendezvous in Athens in March 2024, Eurobank's CEO, Mr. Fokion Karavias, underscored the pivotal role of insurance operations and Bancassurance products in the bank's overarching strategy, hinting at a future filled with innovation and strategic collaboration.

As the financial narrative unfolds, Eurobank's financial saga adds an intriguing layer to the unfolding drama. In January 2023, Eurobank orchestrated a strategic divestment, parting ways with its 10.8% stake in Eurolife FFH Insurance Group, fetching a hefty €48.3 million. Subsequent capital infusions in March and November 2023, totaling €8.6 million and €6.05 million, respectively, underscore Eurobank's unwavering commitment to its strategic vision. And with a steadfast presence in Grivalia Hospitality S.A., Eurobank charts a course toward financial prosperity, poised to reap the rewards of strategic investments and prudent financial stewardship.

In the realm of dividends, Eurobank's financial landscape paints a nuanced picture. With dividend income totaling €140 million for 2023, primarily sourced from its subsidiaries, Eurobank navigates the financial terrain with finesse and strategic acumen. Specifically, a dividend windfall of €7 million from Eurolife FFH Insurance Group for 2023, while slightly reduced from the previous year, signifies Eurobank's enduring commitment to unlocking shareholder value and driving sustained financial growth.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  economy  |  banks

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