Ageas in exclusive talks over sale of French business

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Belgian insurer Ageas has entered into exclusive negotiations with Paris-based mutual Carac over the sale of its French life insurance, savings and pension business.

Ageas said the proposal aligns with its strategy to streamline its European portfolio and to concentrate on its core markets in the region.

Ageas’s French life and pension activities consist of Ageas France, Ageas Retraite, Ageas Patrimoine and Sicavonline. As of end of 2022, the consolidated unit represented an unrestricted tier 1 capital of €161m (£142m), a Solvency II ratio of 216%, IFRS technical provisions of €3.9bn and an IFRS net profit of €6.1m.

Ageas said the next step in the process will be consultation with employee representatives in France. The proposed disposal will require regulatory approvals.

Carac is a mutual insurer offering savings, protection and pension business in France.

Both parties declined to provide further comment until the negotiations are over. 

The Belgian insurer’s desire to offload its French business was first reported in September “in a retreat from its weakest-performing life insurance market in Europe” by Bloomberg. One source told the news agency the unit could be valued as highly as €330m. 

At its 2022 full-year results announced last month, Ageas’s operating margins for its life unit-linked business were €1bn down compared with 2021, “impacted by lower profitability in France”. 

Could the sale lead to job cuts in France?

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