Fairfax Buys QBE Subsidiaries; Expands European Footprint

Fairfax Buys QBE Subsidiaries; Expands European Footprint
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Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF), the insurance holding company headed by Prem Watsa expanded its footprint in the European region with its latest acquisitions.

The Canadian insurance holding company announced its agreement to acquire the subsidiaries of QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited in the Czech republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

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In a statement, Watsa said, “The operations in Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic are each led by general managers with more than twelve years of experience in their respective markets and supported by strong teams of underwriters with demonstrated experience writing profitable business over the long-term.”

Watsa is hoping to close the transaction with QBE and build the position of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) in Eastern Europe over the long-term with its existing team under the leadership of Peter Csakvari.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) expected to complete the transaction, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval in the third quarter of 2015.

The operations of QBE in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia generated more than $40 million in profitable gross written premiums from a variety of insurance classes, according to Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF).

Fairfax made the acquisition due to limited competition

Fairfax Financial president, Paul Rivett said the company was attracted to acquire the subsidiaries of QBE in Eastern Europe because the competition in the insurance industry is limited in the three countries.

He said that the acquisition is another opportunity for Faixfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) to grow in a area where it has no presence yet. QBE’s Eastern European insurance subsidiaries primarily offer property, casualty and travel insurance to commercial customers.

Fairfax’s previous transactions

Earlier this month, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) acquired a Malaysian general insurance business owned by MCIS Insurance Berhad and Koperasi MCIS Berhad.

Last October, Watsa’s firm sold its two insurance units to Hamilton Insurance Group. Prior to that, the Canadian insurance holding company purchased Pethealth Inc. (TSX: PTZ) for $100 million.

The shares of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) increased nearly 1% to $524.04 per share in New York today.

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