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CORPORATE BRIEFS

Australian firm buys 57.62% stake in insurer

Steelmaker VSŽ Kosice has sold its 57.62% stake in insurer Slovenská Investičná Poisťovňa (SIP) to the Australian firm QBE International Insurance Limited, VSŽ announced on November 19. The sale price is more than three times the par value of the stake, which is 82 million crowns.

VSŽ spokesman Jozef Marko said that the sale of VSŽ's majority stake in SIP was another step in the steelmaker's current move to divest itself of non-core assets not related to metallurgical production. "In addition, the present difficult financial situation does not allow VSŽ to invest in further development of SIP, which is a healthy and profit-making insurance house that needs further investments to strengthen its position on the Slovak insurance market," said Marko.

The new owner of the SIP stake was chosen in a two-stage tender from 20 potential investors. Besides the price, which was the most important criterion, QBE won also thanks to the fact that it is not established on the Slovak market yet, and that it has promised SIP headquarters will remain in Košice.

Besides its European headquarters in London, QBE operates affiliations in Paris, Hamburg, Dublin and other European cities.

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