European insurers line up to buy half-stake in Barclays Vie

A QUEUE of European insurers is waiting in the wings to snap up half of Barclays’ French life insurance business, Barclays Vie, after the bank last week entered talks to offload a 50 per cent stake in the venture for around €65m (£54.2m).

French groups CNP Assurances, Axa and La Mondiale are all thought to have tabled preliminary offers of interest, as have Britain’s Aviva, Germany’s Allianz, Italian insurer Generali and Swiss Life, according to France’s La Tribune newspaper.

Any tie-up is likely to run along similar lines to Barclays’ life insurance joint venture in Iberia, where it sealed a deal to sell half of Barclays Vida y Pensiones Compañía de Seguros (BVP) to CNP Assurances just last year. As part of that deal, CNP paid €140m in cash for the stake, in addition to an additional consideration of up to €450m, payable in cash over a 12-year period depending on the future performance of the venture. Barclays also entered into a

25-year agreement with CNP to market and distribute its life and pensions products through its retail network in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Barclays held a preliminary round table meeting last week to kick off bidding for the Barclays Vie stake. CNP and Axa are expected to emerge as the preferred partners.