November 15, 2011 / 5:14 PM / in 6 years

Intact Financial sees more acquisitions: CEO

TORONTO (Reuters) - Intact Financial Corp’s (IFC.TO) integration of its AXA Canada assets is going well, and the company plans to press ahead with more domestic acquisitions, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an investor presentation in Toronto, executives reaffirmed the C$2.6 billion acquisition of French insurer AXA’s Canadian assets should yield annual cost-savings of C$100 million ($98 million).

Chief Executive Charles Brindamour said company planned to follow with more moves in the domestic market

“Our view is that the environment remains conducive for consolidation in the coming four to five years,” he said.

“Clearly we’re interested in participating.”

Intact launched the takeover in May. It is one of a number of recent deals in which Canadian financial institutions have purchased subsidiaries of European companies that have been hurt by the European debt crisis and economic weakness.

Brindamour said he expected more such deals, noting that 30 percent of the Canadian property and casualty insurance market is held by foreign-owned insurers.

“You should expect to see movement on that front,” he said.

He said Intact would also be interested in expanding internationally and has been looking at opportunities, but no viable targets have yet materialized.

“We were not able to put our finger on an opportunity where earnings visibility was close enough for us to jump into these opportunities,” he said.

“I don’t expect any press release within six to nine months on that front.”

Intact is Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer, with C$6.5 billion in direct premiums written when factoring in the AXA assets. Now independent, the company started life as the Canadian insurance arm of Dutch financial group ING.

Its largest publicly traded Canadian rival is Fairfax Financial (FFH.TO), which has also been active in M&A, most recently with the purchase of a 9 percent stake in troubled lender Bank of Ireland BKIR.I.

Intact’s shares were down 2 Canadian cents at C$58.13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson

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