CENTRAL EUROPE - Germany's Allianz and UniCredito, the Italian bank, are set to take a bigger bite of Croatia's Zagrebacka banka in response to the country's looming pension reform.
The consortium has launched offers for the entire shareholding of the bank. These offers comprise both voting shares and global depository receipts (GDR).
Currently, both companies each hold Zagrebacka GDRs, which amount to approximately 10% percent of the voting share capital. If the deal goes ahead as planned UniCredito will hold approximately 85% and Allianz the remaining 15%.
The move is a joint response to address the growing Croatian market which will be expanded by forthcoming pension reform. Both firms will leverage off the bank’s institutional and retail reach.
The deal will also look to strengthen Zagrebacka’s position in the Croatian market as well as developing its name across other former Yugoslavian states. The bank already has a national network coverage with total assets of EUR5.2bn.
Allianz entered the Croatian insurance market in 1998 by acquiring a 50% interest in Adriatic Osiguranje, later renamed Allianz Zagreb. The firm now holds holds 52% and Zagrebacka 48%. Both companies have co-operations in insurance, asset management and pension fund business.
The new offers will be financed by a combination of newly issued UniCredito’s shares (80%) and cash (20% ). The value of the offers amounts to approximately $238.57 for each Zagrebacka banka voting share and around $23.86 for each Zagrebacka GDR.
The offer will be put to Zagrebacka shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting on February 27, 2002. The offers are expected to remain open until March 1. An announcement of valid acceptances will be made on March 4. It is expected that the offers will be declared unconditional on March 11, 2002.
By Madhu Kalia
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