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UNIQA has option to acquire Albanian insurer


VIENNA, Austria—UNIQA Group Austria announced Friday a cooperation agreement with Sigal, Albania's largest insurance company.

UNIQA said the companies had agreed on "extensive cooperation," with UNIQA securing an option to acquire a majority stake in Sigal in 2010, according to a news release.

Vienna-based UNIQA will support Sigal in the areas of product development, particularly in life and health insurance, as well as in training and marketing. The agreement is in line with UNIQA's strategy of expanding its group into southern and southeastern Europe.

Sigal was founded in 1999 as one of Albania's first private insurance companies and operates subsidiaries in Kosovo and Macedonia. Last year, Sigal had a premium volume of approximately €19.2 million ($25.57 million). The company has 228 salaried employees and more than 190,000 insurance contracts.