GERMANY –Munich-based insurance and financial services group, Munich Re, has taken a further step towards diversifying into the banking sector by effectively doubling its holding in Commerzbank and reinforcing its stake in HypoVereinsBank (HVB), Germany’s third largest banking group.

The move follows the deal last year that saw Munich Re take a controlling interest in Germany’s second largest bank in HypoVereinsBank (HVB) and it could lead to the creation of a financial services giant in Germany to rival Allianz, who acquired Dresdner Bank last year.

However, this is played down by Munich Re. “The move is part of a series of consolidations and acquisitions by Munich Re and is really nothing more than a good investment opportunity,” says a spokesman.

The deal leaves Munich Re with 10.4% of Commerzbank’s equity, making it the largest single shareholder in the group, and completes the move started last April to take a 25.7% shareholding and 26.3% of the voting rights of HVB.