Italian insurer Generali is expanding into Bulgaria with the acquisition of a 51% stake in Orel-G, the leading Bulgarian insurer in life and insurance.

Generali has signed an agreement to buy the shareholding as part of an international expansion strategy, although the group did not reveal how much it paid for its stake. The Orel-G Group closed 2005 with a premium income of approximately E28 million, recording like-for-like growth of 22% from the previous year, according to Generali.

Generali CEO Sergio Balbinot said: The entry in Bulgaria with the acquisition of Orel-G is part of the international growth strategy of Generali, which in just a few months has significantly strengthened its presence in some of the markets with the world’s highest growth potential.

The widening of our operations in countries such as India, Serbia, Ukraine, as well as the strengthening of our position in Croatia, are the latest steps in this process. The group now operates in ten countries in central and eastern Europe, with nearly 4 million clients.