Helvetia Agrees to Buy Nationale Suisse for $2 Billion

Helvetia Holding AG (HELN) agreed to buy a majority stake in Nationale Suisse (NATN) in a transaction valuing the company at about 1.77 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion) to create Switzerland's third-largest insurer.

Helvetia is offering 80 Swiss francs in cash and shares for Nationale Suisse, whose board welcomed the bid, St. Gallen, Switzerland-based Helvetia said in a statement today. That's 26 percent more than the closing price on July 4, the most recent trading day.

The merged company will have premium volume of around 9 billion francs and have a profit potential of more than 500 million francs, Helvetia said. The insurer forecast annual cost savings of 100 million francs to 120 million francs.

Helvetia said it will pay 52 francs a share and 0.068 new Helvetia shares for each Nationale Suisse share. It is bidding for all the 22.1 million shares except a 19 percent stake already owned by Helvetia and Patria Co-operative.

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-07/helvetia-agrees-to-buy-nationale-suisse-in-2-billion-deal.html