The Swiss insurer, Winterthur, is to take over the British subsidiary of the Australian insurance group, Colonial. For SFr 816 million, the Credit Suisse-owned company is reinforcing its presence on the world's third-largest life insurance market.
Winterthur is currently among the world's ten biggest insurers, and employs 26,000 staff. It made a net profit of just over SFr1 billion in 1999, an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year.
Its latest acquisition, Colonial UK, has 400,000 clients in Britain. It collected the equivalent of SFr645 million in insurance premiums in 1999 and its current assets amount to the equivalent of around SFr12 billion.
The purchase will give Winterhur's own British branch, Winterthur Life UK, greater market penetration, according to Thomas Wellauer, president of the parent company's board of directors. Colonial UK will be merged with Winterthur Life UK.
The Winterthur group also owns the British direct insurer, Churchill. The Colonial UK deal still requires a green light from the British authorities.
swissinfo with agencies