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Generali not planning sale of French assets to Allianz: Sources

Posted On: Dec. 16, 2016 10:10 AM CST

(Reuters) — Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. does not intend to sell its French business, three people close to the situation said on Friday, following a report that German rival Allianz S.E. was in talks with Italy's biggest insurer about a sale.

"Generali does not plan to leave France," one of the sources said.

Earlier Bloomberg had said Allianz, Europe's biggest insurance company, was considering making a bid for Generali's French operations, although it was uncertain whether a deal could get the approval of competition regulators.

France accounts for about 15% of Generali's gross written premiums, its third-largest market after Italy and Germany.

Generali and Allianz declined to comment on the report.

Shares in Generali jumped nearly 6% to €14.91 ($15.59), to their highest level since January, before easing back to trade up 2.7% at €14.55 ($15.21) by 1142 GMT. Allianz's share price was up 0.5% at €157.55 ($164.73).

Allianz Chief Executive Oliver Baete has said that the German insurer is looking out for opportunities to make acquisitions but it is not easy to find attractive targets at a reasonable price.

The company said last month it could return €2.5 billion ($2.6 billion) from its budget for acquisitions to shareholders in the form of share buybacks.