France-based CNP Assurances has reached an agreement to purchase Banco Santander Group, to acquire a 51% stake in Santander Consumer Finance's life and non-life insurance subsidiaries.

In addition, the French underwriter has signed an exclusive long-term distribution agreement with Santander Consumer Finance to distribute all the life risk insurance products.

Both firms have developed payment protection insurance (PPI) on priority.

The bancassurance agreement covers 10 European countries, namely Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

CNP Assurances CEO Frédéric Lavenir said: "This agreement marks a key step in the implementation of our strategic priorities in Europe. With Banco Santander, Europe’s first retail bank, we create a partnership fulfilling CNP Assurances’ ambitions."

CNP Assurances noted that the agreement and stake takeover will allow the company to achieve immediate scale in several European markets with strong fundamentals.

According to CNP Assurances, the purchase price will be paid from existing resources and is likely to conclude by 2014 end, following regulatory approvals.