NLB and KBC have sold their stakes in life insurer NLB Vita to Sava Re (Joint Press Release)

27 December 2019

In a joint process, Nova Ljubljanska banka (‘NLB’) and KBC Insurance NV (“KBC”) have agreed to sell their respective stakes in the Slovenian 50/50 life insurance joint venture NLB Vita to Sava Re, parent company of the Sava Insurance Group, one of the top three insurance groups in the Adria region. In doing so, KBC will completely withdraw from the Slovenian market, which is non-core to KBC. At the same time, NLB has fulfilled its last commitment towards the European Commission, in connection with the state aid proceedings.  

The transaction, which is expected to close in 2Q20, is subject to regulatory approvals. 

Blaž Brodnjak, President of the NLB Management Board emphasized: “This is the final step on our path to fulfil all of the commitments imposed by the European Commission and an important milestone, which will, ultimately, enable us to start operating and competing on the market with our full potential. We believe that we have found the right strategic partner for NLB Vita – a partner who will continue its successful business story, proved by its results and efficient sales.  As it was our objective all along, NLB will continue to play a role in this story - our wide and competitive distribution network will namely remain the main channel for NLB Vita products. All this will undoubtedly bring an added value not only for the new owner, but also for NLB Vita and, most importantly, for its clients”. 
Marko Jazbec, Sava Insurance Group CEO commented: “At year-end 2018, NLB Vita was the second largest life insurance company in the Slovenian market, with a market share of 14.8%. The competitive advantage of NLB Vita lies in its combined know-how and experience drawn from both NLB and KBC, which provides a solid ground for the development of a strong bancassurance partnership. NLB Vita will offer the Sava Insurance Group further diversification potential for its Slovenian insurance portfolio with life insurance products. In this segment we see a penetration gap compared to other developed EU insurance markets and, thus, an opportunity for future organic growth. With NLB remaining the most important distribution channel of NLB Vita, we will also build on the strong bancassurance partnership between the two groups.”  
Johan Thijs, KBC Group CEO, commented as follows: “We welcome today’s agreement with Sava Re. The deal, which will have a negligible impact on KBC Group’s results, fits in perfectly with our strategy to focus on our core markets. As a matter of fact, our focus lies on retail clients, small and medium sized enterprises and midcaps in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Ireland. We are convinced that, with the support of its new owner, NLB Vita will be able to successfully continue developing its activities.”

NLB d.d., KBC in Sava Re, d.d.