French insurer Covea seeks new reinsurance acquisitions
* Covea seeks international exposure
* Covea seeks to buy reinsurers other than SCOR
* Covea had tried to buy SCOR last year
* Covea is SCOR's largest shareholder with 8.17 pct
(Adds comments from Covea CEO and more details)
By Inti Landauro and Matthieu Protard
PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) - French co-operative insurer
Covea, which in January dropped plans to buy reinsurer SCOR
, on Tuesday said it was still interested in
diversifying into reinsurance via acquisitions.
Covea, which holds an 8.17 percent stake in SCOR, has said
it does not plan to increase its stake after it abandoned its
attempt to buy SCOR.
"Developing such an activity from scratch takes decades, so
external growth is the more plausible," Covea's Chief Executive
Thierry Derez said on Tuesday at a news conference on Covea's
Derez declined to comment on whether Covea would sell its
SCOR stake if the company were to buy another reinsurer.
Derez said he wanted Covea get into reinsurance to gain
exposure to less common but more severe risks. At present
Covea's main casualty and property insurance business has
exposure mainly to small but recurrent risks such as car crashes
and domestic accidents.
Reinsurance would also allow Covea to diversify outside its
main market France, where it makes almost 90 percent of its 17
billion euros ($19 billion) business, Derez told reporters.
Derez said he expected new entrants, such as utilities and
car manufacturers, to increase competition in the property and
Covea abandoned its attempt to buy SCOR after its offer
valuing SCOR at 8.2 billion euros was rebuffed by the board, led
by veteran chairman and CEO Denis Kessler.
Scor has taken legal action against Covea and its CEO for
breach of trust.
Since then activist fund CIAM filed a proposal to SCOR's
shareholders asking them to oust Kessler from the board at the
annual shareholder meeting due to be held on Friday.
Thierry Francq, Derez's chief of staff, said Covea will
participate in the shareholders' meeting although he declined to
say whether it would vote to oust Kessler.
($1 = 0.8936 euros)
(Reporting by Inti Landauro Matthieu Protard;
Editing by Leigh Thomas/Sudip Kar-Gupta/Jane Merriman)
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