QBE snaps up 100% shareholding for Elders Insurance Limited

QBE today announced that it has agreed to acquire 100% of the shareholding in Elders Insurance Limited (“Elders Insurance”).

In addition, to secure ongoing distribution of general insurance products and further alignment of QBE’s and Elders’ business interests, QBE will acquire 75% of the insurance agency businesses (“Elders Insurance Agency”) and subscribe for 12% or 112.5 million of Elders Limited shares. The total consideration is $315 million.

The transaction is subject to satisfactory final due diligence, regulatory approvals and definitive contracts.

Elders Limited owns Australia’s largest rural services network and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Elders Limited will retain 25% of the Elders Insurance Agency and has an option to repurchase a further 25% of the Elders Insurance Agency before 31 December 2012 at the same earnings multiple paid by QBE.

Elders Insurance and Elders Insurance Agency are expected to generate around $500 million in gross written premium in 2010, of which $400 million is the expected additional premium for QBE in 2010.

Net tangible assets at the date of acquisition is estimated to be $105 million. Net profit after tax from th Elders Insurance and Elders Insurance Agency businesses is anticipated to be around $30 million in the 2010 calendar year.

Tim Plant will continue as Managing Director of the Elders Insurance and Elders Insurance Agency businesses.

Frank O’Halloran, QBE’s Chief Executive Officer said, “QBE is delighted to be able to enter into a strategic alliance with Elders for the underwriting and distribution of their general insurance business. Both companies have a long history in Australia, with Elders being established as a stock and station agency in 1839 and QBE as a general insurer in 1886.”

The transaction will be financed from QBE’s existing cash resources and is targeted to be completed by 30 September 2009.