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MUNICH, Germany -- German insurance giant Allianz A.G. Holding is targeting the United Kingdom and Asia-Pacific region for expansion.
Allianz Chief Executive Officer Henning Schulte-Noelle announced a series of measures in July to boost the insurer's capital by 100 million deutsche marks ($56 million) to facilitate acquisitions.
Mr. Schulte-Noelle said Allianz wants to consolidate its U.K. presence by buying up additional insurers. Currently, the company's U.K. premium volume is about 3.4 billion deutsche marks ($1.9 billion).
A spokeswoman said that the company would like to have a more significant presence in the U.K. market and is seeking a "good opportunity." Allianz already owns several U.K. insurers, including London-based Cornhill Insurance P.L.C.
By the year 2000, Allianz also plans a "big acquisition" in Asia, according to Michael Diekmann, the company's manager for the Asia-Pacific region. The acquisition will help Allianz fulfill its plans to derive 3% of its premium volume from Asia by then. Currently, Asia provides 682 million deutsche marks ($382 million), or 0.8%, of Allianz's total premium volume. Mr. Diekmann said the company is looking primarily at life insurance companies in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
Allianz's ambitious acquisition plans call for an increase in overall premium volume to 100 billion deutsche marks ($56 billion) by the year 2000 from 85.3 billion deutsche marks ($47.8 billion) in 1997. The company will exceed that goal this year once Allianz consolidates its acquisition of Paris-based Assurances Generales de France. AGF's 1998 premium volume is estimated to be 26 billion deutsche marks ($14.6 billion).
Europe's largest insurer expects record profits of more than 3 billion deutsche marks ($1.7 billion) in 1998, up from 2.6 billion deutsche marks ($1.5 billion) last year.
Allianz has "a strong basis for the planned expansion," said Mr. Schulte-Noelle. The insurer, which trades its stock on the German market, was listed on the Paris exchange as of June 12, and it plans to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange within two years. Allianz wants to "make its stock better known in other international markets," he said. The move will give the company access to more capital for further acquisitions.