Regulator says Groupama must launch Italian bids

MILAN (Reuters) – French insurer Groupama must launch a takeover bid on holding company Premafin (PRAI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) and its key insurance unit Fondiaria-SAI (FOSA.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) if it goes ahead with current plans to take part in a badly needed recapitalization of Premafin, Italian market regulator Consob ruled on Friday.

In a statement on Friday detailing the Consob’s decision, Groupama said its participation in Premafin’s capital increase was conditional on the absence of an obligation to launch a full takeover bid.

Groupama, which wants to boost its Italy presence, had agreed to take a stake of around 17 percent in Premafin via the capital increase and had expressed interest in buying up to 20 percent of Fondiaria, Italy’s No. 2 insurance player by premiums.