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Hungary acquires 45% stake in VIG-Aegon tie-up

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The state of Hungary signed a contract on Monday to acquire a 45% stake in the local businesses of Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) and Dutch peer Aegon, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

"Hungary is acquiring 45% ownership in Aegon Biztosító and Union Biztosító. I signed the contract on the sale today with representatives of Vienna Insurance Group," Varga said in the post.

"The investment is extraordinarily advantageous for Hungary: the combined share of the two insurers is close to 20pc of the domestic market and their revenue from premiums is HUF 240 billion a year, making the two companies market leader in the sector," he added.

"This step serves the goal of increasing public assets and returning strategic assets to state ownership," he said.

The state signed a memorandum of understanding in December on acquiring ownership in the companies.

VIG announced in November 2020 that it agreed to acquire the businesses of Aegon in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Turkey for a price of EUR 830 million. In April 2021, VIG said its acquisition of Aegon's business in Hungary was denied by the Interior Ministry.

Under state-of-emergency powers vested by parliament, Hungary's government has been equipped with legal tools to block foreign takeovers of domestic companies.

In January 2022, the European Commission said it "preliminarily concluded" that Hungary violated the European Union's merger regulation when Hungarian authorities vetoed the acquisition of the local business of Aegon by VIG.

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