Equest Inv Balkans

Sale of Stake in Uniqa Bulgar

RNS Number : 3327T
Equest Investments Balkans Ltd
03 June 2009

03 June 2009



('EIB' or the' Company')



In line with EIB's non core asset disposal program, EIB today announces that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of 21.19% of the shares in Uniqa Bulgaria AD ('Uniqa Bulgaria') to Uniqa International Beteiligungs-Verwaltungs GmbH ('Uniqa International') for Euro 15.2 million in cash.  The Company has an existing agreement with Uniqa International, under which Uniqa International has agreed to acquire Uniqa Bulgaria from EIB over a period of years up to 2010.

The proceeds of the sale will be used for the repayment of a Euro 15 million loan made by Uniqa Real Estate AG to Pelikan Retail Holding BVI, a 100% owned EIB property development subsidiary. The loan relates in particular to the Serdika development in Sofia which is owned jointly by EIB and Equest Balkan Properties Plc ('EBP'), a commercial property investment fund investing in the Balkan region.  The Company is currently in discussions with EBP on the timing and terms of the repayment to EIB by EBP of EBP's Euro 8.7 million share.

Uniqa International, a subsidiary of Uniqa Insurance, Austria's largest insurance company, obtained operational control of Uniqa Bulgaria in 2006 and has continued to acquire stakes in the company under pre-agreed arrangements.  Upon completion of the transaction, Uniqa International will control 83.5of Uniqa Bulgaria while EIB will retain the remaining 16.5%.  

Uniqa Bulgaria, with life and non-life operations, is the fifth largest insurance company in Bulgaria. Set up as a private company in 1994, it has been built up to more than 100 branches across the country, and it is now ranked 3rd in life insurance and 7th in non-life insurance. 

Uniqa Bulgaria had gross written premiums of Euro 68.4 million and profit before taxation of Euro 3.0 million for the 12 months ended 31 December 2008. EIB's 37.72% holding in Uniqa Bulgaria was held in its balance sheet as at 30 June 2008 at a fair value of Euro 54.9 million. 

Commenting, Petri Karjalainen, Executive Director of the Company, said:

'We are pleased to have completed the sale of this stake on the pre-agreed terms. The disposal is in line with our current strategy of selling of non-core businesses to raise capital to assist with further debt repayment, to improve liquidity for operations and to enable the Company to focus more closely on its core investments.'




Equest Investments Balkans Limited 

Tel: + 44 20 7240 7600 

Petri Karjalainen 

Naomi Kora


Financial Dynamics 

Tel: + 44 20 7831 3113 

Nick Henderson 

David Cranmer

Collins Stewart Europe Limited (Nomad)

Tel: +44 20 7523 8350

Hugh Field

KBC Peel Hunt Limited (Broker) 

Tel: + 44 20 7418 8900 

Capel Irwin




This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange