EBRD exits investment in Slovenia’s Prva Group

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has exited its investment in Prva Group, one of Slovenia’s – and south-east Europe’s – biggest insurance and pensions providers.

At the end of March the bank sold its 20% stake for an undisclosed amount to DEJ doo, a Ljubljana-based company that already held just over 50% in Prva.

According to the EBRD, it originally invested in Prva in February 2007 in order to further its market expansion and strengthen corporate governance.

Later that year Prva’s subsidiary KB First Pension Company won one of two Macedonian mandatory pension fund licences, and subsequently set up a voluntary fund.

Last year the mandatory fund had a market share of 52%.

Meanwhile, NLB Nov Penziski Fond AD Skopje, which runs the country’s other mandatory fund as well as a voluntary fund, was last month put up for sale by its owner, state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Slovenia’s largest bank.

Prior to EBRD’s involvement, Prva had already expanded beyond Slovenia.

In Serbia it has a 60% share in DDOR Garant, which operates two voluntary pension funds, while in Kosovo it operates the Fondi Siloveno-Kosovar i Pensioneve supplementary pension fund.

The Slovenian pensions and insurance management subsidiary Prva osebna zavarovalnica last year expanded its suite of pension funds following the introduction of life-cycle funds.

Overall, according to the EBRD, Prva Group now has more than €735m in pension assets under management and nearly 400,000 policy holders, while its Slovenian subsidiary holds the biggest market share (26.45%) in local voluntary pensions insurance provision.

EBRD’s other pension fund management investments have included a stake in the Russian mandatory provider European Pension Fund, which it exited in 2013 when the fund was acquired by the BIN Group (since renamed Safmar Financial Group), and which has since been merged with three of the group’s other pension funds into NPF Safmar.

One of the bank’s more recent pensions ventures was an equity investment in a voluntary pension fund management company in Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

According to the EBRD’s website, the new company will be BiH’s first provider of voluntary pension fund and asset management services.

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