KBC has confirmed that it has successfully closed the acquisition of a 70% shareholding in Bulgarian non-life and life insurance provider DZI Insurance.

KBC plans to launch a public takeover bid in the near future for the outstanding 30% of DZI Insurance’s shares.

Commenting on the deal, Andre Bergen, KBC Group CEO, said: KBC has been quick to respond to Bulgaria’s entry into the European Union (1 January 2007), becoming the first Belgian investor in the Bulgarian financial sector. Today, we have officially become DZI’s new shareholder. KBC considers DZI Insurance to be a unique platform to start building a long-term presence in this promising market.

DZI’s leading and longstanding presence in the country and its dense, nationwide, multi-channel distribution network also provides KBC with a platform to develop bancassurance in the high-growth Bulgarian market. KBC wants to ensure the growth and future of DZI for the benefit of its customers, employees, insurance agents and brokers, shareholders and the Bulgarian community at large.

Nedyalko Chandarov, chairman of the management board and executive director of DZI Insurance, added: Joining a leading financial group such as KBC will offer DZI Insurance new opportunities to strengthen growth. Given the professionalism, enthusiasm and determination of all DZI Insurance employees, insurance agents and brokers, we are convinced that, together, DZI Insurance and KBC will be able to grow and further strengthen their position in the league of strong performers in the years to come.