Generali, the Spanish campaign opens up to the European risk of policies. The Lion restarts from Liberty

Generali, the Spanish campaign opens up to the European risk of policies.  The Lion restarts from Liberty


This time the roar of the Lion was heard throughout Europe. Putting 2.3 billion euros on the table cash Assicurazioni Generali beat the competition from Axa, Allianz, Zurich and the main Iberian competitors, bringing the Liberty Seguros company, the armed arm in Europe of the American Liberty Mutual, one of the most dynamic companies in the sector, into the Trieste perimeter damages in the United States.

A dry blow, which reactivates the European circulation of the Generali brand. In fact, we have to go back about ten years to find an equally significant operation. At the time Generali first concluded a partnership agreement with the Ppf group – it was 2007 and for Trieste the then managing director Sergio Balbinot signed – then, under the guidance of group ceo Mario Greco, the Lion took full control of the home at the beginning of 2013 joint venture in central and eastern Europe in exchange for 2.5 billion euros.

Since then, nothing of such significance has occurred at a European level for the Lion, while the competitors have not stood still. Also for this reason the operation in Spain, as well as Liberty in Spain, which is very present in Portugal, takes on a particular value and also opens up the lucrative Irish market to Generali. Fourteen months after the conclusion of the Battle of Trieste the answer of management headed by Philippe Donnet (in the picture) arrived strong and concrete. A year ago, the attack on the Generali fort by the shareholder Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone highlighted a sometimes wait-and-see attitude on the part of the Leone managers. Caltagirone proposed to the shareholders an alternative list to that of the outgoing board of directors, with Luciano Cirinn as managing director and Claudio Costamagna as president. In the polls for Caltagirone he collected only shards and a few minority directors: the majority of the shareholders let themselves be convinced by the track record of Donnet and from the attention to governance demonstrated repeatedly by the candidate for president Andrea Sironi. A first change was just that: the arrival of Sironi at the top of the corporate pyramid. Then, however, something else happened.

A plan centered on growth

Donnet, in the months immediately following the shareholders’ meeting which earned him his second reappointment, developed an industrial plan which has as its objective the strategic redesign of the company’s activities, which aims to transform itself into a Lifetime partner. From that plan, from that idea of Lifetime partner 24: driving growththat the claims of the entire operation aimed at long-term growth, came the rethinking of Generali’s activities and presence also in a key market such as the Italian one. In the business plan, Donnet has indicated a willingness to carry out extraordinary operations of between 2.5 and 3 billion euros. The acquisition of Liberty Seguros absorbs much of that availability, but there are no doubts about the acquisition’s desirability. Liberty Seguros was paid dearly, but the price was determined by the scarcity of the offer. Companies of the same size and with the same impact on business there are none for sale in Europe and it would have been much heavier not to achieve the goal than to pay dearly for it.

The acquisition is a concrete sign of the change in Donnet management, a departure from the past. If you also want a recognition of the demands of the engineer Caltagirone: the umpteenth confirmation of the heterogenesis of ends. A sensible operation, as highlighted by many in Trieste, which confirms a continental role for one of the few Italian multinationals in the finance sector. an operation strongly desired by the managing director Donnet and followed personally by CEO International from Generali, Jaime Anchustegui Melgarejo who knows the Iberian market and Liberty’s potential well. The Spanish company produces premiums for around 1.2 billion euros a year and has paid it almost double the turnover, while the main competitor Europeans are valued less than turnover, poses a price issue which is however justified by the scarcity of alternatives. The opportunity has increased purchase offers, but those who have been making policies their own since 1831 business he could not miss this opportunity, is reiterated by many. Giving up or stopping before the finish line would have been like questioning the very essence of one’s presence on this market.

New markets

Indeed, Liberty is capable of significantly expanding Generali’s presence in areas where until recently it was marginal. In Spain, Leone is the fourth operator in the Non-Life sector, the first non-Spanish, with an important portfolio in home and motor policies. In Portugal, Generali will be the second company in terms of market penetration and will make its debut among top ten in Ireland. An operation, in short, to be carried out, which will pay for itself over time. If 2.3 billion is an important figure, it should also be noted that the proceeds of a sale, by Liberty Seguros, on the Brazilian market announced at the beginning of the year, also fall within the scope of the acquisition. The proceeds, approximately 500 million euros, lead in some way to revise the amount of the amount paid. Another important consideration that with this acquisition Generali responds to those who in the past have accused the company of an excessive presence in the Life business compared to the Non-Life business. A presence which, at the time of interest rates tending to zero, showed marked slowdowns on the funding front. The Non-Life business by definition is less volatile and more adherent to the core business insurance. Having strengthened in such an important way in this sector opens up for Generali a prospect of greater adherence to the industrial plan, reassures the shareholders and confirms the group’s role in the risk of European policies.


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