Romanian investment managers take over French AXA’s local life insurance business

Romanian investment management firm Certinvest and local investment company SIF Transilvania (SIF3) have signed a contract with French insurance group AXA to take over its life insurance business in Romania.

Certinvest will own the majority 70% stake in AXA Life Insurance, while SIF Transilvania will hold the remaining 30%. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal needs to be approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF), before it will be finalised.

“The opening of a new business line in the insurance sector will allow Certinvest to diversify the investment portfolio for its clients, as well as for the insurance clients who are interested in other investment options,” said Certinvest’s representatives in a press release.

AXA Life Insurance had gross premiums underwritten of EUR 7.6 million and a market share of 2.7% of the life insurance market, in 2013.

Certinvest is currently the largest independent asset manager on the Romanian market, with some EUR 56 million in net assets under management (as of October 31, 2014). The firm manages mutual funds, closed-end investment funds and private investment accounts for wealthy individuals. Certinvest is controlled by Romanian businessman Eugen Voicu, who holds 93% of the firm’s shares.

SIF Transilvania is an investment company which was created in the ‘90s as part of the state’s mass privatization program. The company has some EUR 235 million in net assets under management, as of November 30, 2014.

This transaction marks AXA’s exit from the Romanian market, some five years after the French insurer started its operations in Romania. AXA initially announced it would sell its local operations to Astra Asigurari, one of the largest insurance companies in Romania, which is owned by Romanian businessman Dan Adamescu. However, the transaction didn’t materialize because Astra Asigurari was placed under special administration, by the regulator, in January 2014, due to financial problems.

Andrei Chirileasa, andrei@romania-insider.com

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