Also finalised options to purchase the remaining shares over the next few years

Austria-based UNIQA Group is all set to acquire a further 23% of the share capital in Albanian insurance company, Sigal. The move would increase its share in Sigal and its subsidiaries in Kosovo and Macedonia, to around 68.7%.

The relevant agreements with the former shareholders were signed on November 11, 2009. However, the 13% holding of Albanian American Enterprise Fund (AAEF) in Sigal will remain unchanged. Additionally, UNIQA also has finalised options to purchase the remaining shares over the next few years.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the responsible authorities. The deal is expected to be closed within the next three to four months.

Konstantin Klien, CEO of UNIQA, said: “We made it clear right at the beginning of our cooperation with Sigal in 2007 that we wanted to acquire a majority stake in the company by 2010 and secured appropriate options for ourselves. The current step is therefore entirely according to plan and expresses confidence in the economically positive future of the markets of South-Eastern Europe. With the commencement of business operations in Russia a few weeks ago, UNIQA has also clearly underscored its commitment to the growth regions in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

“Sigal has used the exchange of experience with the companies of the UNIQA Group outstandingly well within the scope of the existing cooperation and further developed its undisputed position as the number one insurer in Albania by increasing its market share from 28% to over 32%. The ongoing low density of insurers in the three markets, combined with the medium-term positive economic outlooks also gives reason to expect continued disproportionately high growth rates in the insurance industry.”