Uniqa Group Acquires Majority Stake in Astra

Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 29 iunie 2007

Uniqa Group Austria strengthened its commitment in Romania by acquiring a further 23% in Astra S.A. from the previous majority shareholder, Nova Trade. In doing so, Uniqa secured a controlling interest of Astra with a quota of 50% plus one share. The transaction is still subject to the approval of the local authorities. In accordance with the local legal requirements, Uniqa will make the small shareholders of the listed company, Astra, a compulsory offer.

In mid-2005, Uniqa Group acquired 27% in Astra. As preparation for the majority takeover and integration into the Uniqa Group, the company"s market appearance was already adapted in mid-2006, using co-branding, to Astra-Uniqa, thereby giving a clear indication of the future positioning of the company.

Astra-Uniqa will continue its preferred partnership with Raiffeisen Bank begun in 2005. Uniqua plans to increase its investments in the real estate sector. One of the showpieces in this area is the Oracle Tower in Bucharest, which Uniqa purchased through a real estate subsidiary in 2006.

ASTRA was founded in 1991 and has more than 200 branches across the country. The company currently employs approximately 570 in-house staff and in addition, more than 640 staff in sales. In 2006, the total of premiums collected by Astra-Uniqa was approximately 86 million EUR, which is an increase of about 80%. In the same period, Romania"s entire insurance market grew by 34%. In the area of non-life, Astra-Uniqa has a market share of 6.6%, which gives it market position no. 6.

The Uniqa Group Austria is one of the leading insurance groups in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, present in 19 countries.

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