April 15, 2019 / 5:50 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Baloise buys Belgium's Fidea for 480 mln euros as Anbang exits

(Adds details about Anbang disposals, comment from Baloise)

ZURICH, April 15 (Reuters) - Swiss insurer Baloise Holding on Monday said it is acquiring the Belgian insurer Fidea NV for 480 million euros ($543 million) from China’s Anbang Insurance Group to boost its position in the Belgian non-life and life insurance market.

Baloise said the deal will increase its share of the non-life business in Belgium by 1.7 percentage points to 8.5 per cent and its life business by 0.7 percentage points to 4.2 percent.

Baloise is augmenting its business in Europe with its third Belgian takeover in the last decade, while Anbang retreats from a slew of more than $30 billion in deals in recent years to shore up its balance sheet.

Anbang’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, who led the expansion push including the purchase of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, was sentenced in May to 18 years imprisonment for corruption.

“The acquisition and resulting synergies will provide a long-term boost to our growth potential and earnings power,” said Baloise Chief Executive Gert De Winter, a Belgian citizen.

With the acquisition of Antwerp-based Fidea, Baloise will employ around 1,600 employees in Belgium. ($1 = 0.8843 euros) (Reporting by John Miller Editing by Riham Alkousaa)

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