BERLIN (AP) - German insurance giant Allianz AG said Sunday it will offer euro5.7 billion (US$7.1 billion) to buy out minority shareholders in RAS, an Italian insurer, to streamline its business and boost its earnings in Europe.
Allianz said holders of the 44.6 percent of RAS it doesn't already own could choose between shares in Allianz or a cash payment under the offer, which would open in mid-October.
RAS, or Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta SpA, offers insurance and banking services to more than 5 million clients in Italy and other European countries, according to its Web site. Allianz has held a majority of its shares since the 1980s.
Munich-based Allianz said a full takeover would allow it to combine its business in Italy - its second-biggest market in Europe after Germany - and reorganize in Austria, Switzerland and Spain.
It also said it would gather its German operations under a single holding company.
"If you want to play in the premier league of international financial services providers, you need a strong base in your home market. Our home market is Europe,'' Allianz chief executive Michael Diekmann said in a statement.
Integrating RAS "offers a significant potential for the shareholders of Allianz,'' Diekmann said.
With the backing of RAS' management, Allianz said it would offer euro19 (US$23.57) per ordinary share in RAS, a premium of 14 percent over the average price during the past six months.
Allianz, which also owns Italian insurer Lloyds Adriatico, said it would complete its takeover of RAS by the summer of 2006. - AP
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