Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) has agreed to pay $780 million to CaixaBank SA, the third largest lender in Spain. The payment will pay to reinsure a group of individual life insurance policies at the bank.
A regulatory filing for CaxiaBank shows that it will book a one-time pre-tax gain of 524 million euros ($680 million) through the deal. Meanwhile, Berkshire receives the portfolio’s future profits, which according to a CaxiaBank spokesperson, were close to 231 million euros (or almost $300 million USD) last year.
CaxiaBank intends to use the deal’s proceeds to get into compliance with new regulatory rules that require the bank to keep more capital on hand. There’s speculation that other European banks will have to raise capital or cede risk in order to get in compliance with those new rules.
DealBook points out that since Europe’s debt crisis began, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) manager Warren Buffet hasn't made many investments there. He said it was a big problem, and there weren't too many solutions that would work. However Berkshire’s investment into CaixaBank does show that Buffett thinks there are some bright spots amidst Europe’s troubled economy. Also the arm of Berkshire that will be supporting this latest deal is one that has a history of taking larger risks than its other arms.
In past times of financial crisis, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) has also been able to turn a profit, like in 2008, when it injected $5 billion into Goldman Sachs as part of a similar deal and came out with a hefty profit. A number of other major financial firms, including American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) have also turned to Berkshire when they were in trouble.