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Austrian Uniqa Eyeing Maribor Insurer

Vienna, 21 August (STA) - Austrian insurance group Uniqa has confirmed it is examining the possibility of acquiring a majority stake in insurer Zavarovalnica Maribor, which is being offloaded by Slovenia second largest bank, NKBM.

"We have expressed our interest and are waiting for all the relevant documents," Uniqa representative Norbert Heller has told Austrian paper Wirtschaftsblatt.

According to the business daily, NKBM should have no problems selling its 51% stake, as interest has already been expressed by three players: Uniqa and allegedly also Austrian insurer Grawe and Slovenian reinsurance company Pozavarovalnica Sava.

So far official confirmation has only come from Uniqa, although the company is still waiting for additional information.

Uniqa is focusing on SE Europe, it however still needs to decide whether it makes sense to enter the small and saturated Slovenian market. It has so far only been selling insurance in Slovenia via the Raiffeisen bank.

Grawe, whose market share in Slovenia was estimated at 1.6% in 2010, has not commented on the report, while Sava Re, already the owner of a 49% stake, is said by analysts to be short on time for finding enough funds for the remaining stake. It is seeking the support of the EBRD.

The Austrian paper moreover reported that the NKBM's stake was estimated at EUR 70m and that the sale is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

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