Moody’s welcomes Hellenic Bank acquisition of CNP Cyprus

Moody’s welcomes Hellenic Bank acquisition of CNP Cyprus

International credit rating agency Moody’s has given a positive assessment on the mooted move by Hellenic Bank to acquire the operations of CNP Insurance in Cyprus and Greece, stating that it will help strengthen the bank’s activity network and revenue streams, thus reducing its dependency on interest income.

According to Moody’s, as stated in the credit prospects bulletin published on Monday, the acquisition, pending regulatory approvals from the competition protection authority and the European Council, of CNP Assurances, will position the Hellenic Bank Group as the leader in the Cypriot insurance market.

The agency explained that the price for the acquisition, estimated to be €182 million, corresponds to a multiple of 1x acquisition compared to the bank’s book value, with an estimated capital impact of approximately 2.6 percentage points, bringing the group’s capital adequacy to a strong adjusted ratio of 25.8 per cent upon completion of the acquisition.

“However, we expect that the acquisition price will be recovered through retained earnings, as profitability remains strong and the bank currently does not pay dividends,” the agency said, adding that the agreement is likely to include the 330 CNP employees.

According to the agency, CNP Cyprus is the second-largest insurance provider in Cyprus with a combined market share of 24 per cent of gross domestic contracts, behind the Bank of Cyprus subsidiary Eurolife Ltd, and the largest provider in the general sector with 15 per cent, in 2023, based on data from the Association of Insurance Companies of Cyprus.

“The potential acquisition will strengthen the broader activities of the Hellenic Bank with shares of 30 per cent in the life insurance sector and 23 per cent in the general insurance sector, including the existing insurance companies of Hellenic, Hellenic Life and Pancyprian (general sector),” Moody’s said.

Moreover, the transaction, Moody’s estimates, will enhance the diversification and sustainability of Hellenic’s profitability, as it will boost revenue from insurance activities, thus reducing its dependency on net interest income, which accounted for 80 per cent of total revenue in 2023, which is currently higher than that of the Bank of Cyprus.

Finally, the agency expects that the combination of insurance activities will result in synergies, while also creating opportunities for product distribution, as the bank will now acquire a larger number of customers (160,000), while also being able to offer existing customers a wider range of insurance and wealth management products. (Cyprus Mail)

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