Sunday 17 October 2021

Chinese buy Dutch nationalised insurance company Reaal

Logo_SNS_REAALDutch insurance company Reaal is being sold to China’s Anbang for €150m. Reaal is part of the SNS Reaal financial services group which was nationalised at the beginning of 2013 to stave off bankruptcy.

Reaal’s labels include Zwitserleven, Route Mobiel, Reaal and Proteq Dier & Zorg

Officials have been looking for a buyer for Reaal, renamed Vivat, since last summer. SNS Reaal chief executive Gerard van Olphen said in a statement: ‘We have come to know Anbang as a very dedicated and professional party that is actively expanding its business outside of China.’

The deal, he said, will ‘safeguard the interests of policyholders and employees of Vivat’. Nothing will change for customers, Van Olphen said. ‘Anbang will be an arms length shareholder and will build on Vivat as it is now.’

Anbang plans to use Vivat as a platform to make more takeovers in north western Europe. ‘In addition, they want to increase their market share by using Vivat’s client base,’ Van Olphen said. The Chinese firm recently bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for almost €2bn and Belgian insurance company Fidea.

Investigation

The price Anbang is paying for Reaal is less than the company’s book value and this will lead to a book loss. The banking arm of SNS Reaal is valued at €2.5bn.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, the finance ministry wants to know why Reaal has raised less than expected and if the books were fiddled in the past or a genuine mistake was made.

‘The error means there is €700m less capital in Reaal than we thought when we bought it,’ finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.

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