Crédit Agricole buys 25% of GNB Seguros
Portugal’s Novo Banco and the French insurer Crédit Agricole Assurances are in the last phases of negotiating the sale of 25% of the capital of GNB Seguros to the French group which already holds 75%.
The bank, controlled by American vulture fund Lone Star and financed with regular cash injections from Portugal’s banking sector and the Government from the Resolution Fund, has been offloading non-strategic assets over the past year in a bid to pay off crippling debts and non-performing loans inherited as a result of the collapse of the Banco Espírito Santo group in 2014.
Novo Banco has declined to provide information about the situation but a source close to the process has indicated to press sources that the insurance distribution contract through the Novo Banco network would be retained.
However, once it has 100% control of GNB Seguros, Crédit Agricole “will be at liberty to develop a commercial strategy while Novo Banco will remain a privileged partner”.
Novo Banco will continue to retain the distribution contract as it has had since the sale of GNB Vida to APAX Partners, a purchase undertaken via Bankers Insurance Holdings which has been accepted by the financial regulatory body CMVM and will be managed by new CEO Alistair Wallace Bell.