Italian insurance company eyes Scandinavia for expansion

good to be insuredChairman Antoine Bernheim may not be convinced, but rumour is that Assicurazioni Generali, the biggest and one of the most important insurance firms in Italy, is considering expanding its operations into Norway or Sweden, according to Reuters.

Bernheim is reportedly reluctant to enter into any large acquisitions at present. “We’re looking at the possibility of having a small position in the northern countries, in Sweden and Norway,” he was quoted by La Tribune as saying.

“I’m not convinced that a very big acquisition is opportune at the moment,” he said.

Bernheim reassured the public that Generali was not facing any financial difficulties but predicted that declining stock markets across the world would impact insurers in general.

“I don’t know the figures for Generali yet but the consequences won’t be enormous,” he said.

The group is currently aiming for a net profit of €3.8 billion for 2009, a target which has been made “even more ambitious” by the current economic turbulence, Bernheim said.

Assicurazioni Generali is the largest insurance company in Italy and was founded in 1831. Although the company’s primary markets are in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia, it has large market shares in Israel, Switzerland and Japan. It is currently the world’s fifth largest insurance company.

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