CNP Assurances shares soar on the stock market after La Banque Postale’s takeover bid

Last act of the major maneuvers aimed at the constitution of the large public financial center around La Banque Postale: the financial subsidiary of La Poste has just announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the banking group BCPE to buy back its stake in CNP Assurances, French leader in individual life insurance (and third-largest life insurer in Brazil).

La Banque Postale, which since March 2020 has held 62% of the capital of CNP, intends to buy the 16.1% stake in BPCE at a price of 21.90 euros per share, i.e. a premium of 36% on the last share price. listed Tuesday evening. The premium is considered attractive by many financial analysts and the CNP share naturally jumped in the morning to lock in on the redemption price.

La Banque Postale will then file a simplified public offer on the remaining float, at the same price, probably in the first quarter of 2022, to finally begin a delisting of CNP Assurances. In total, the public institution should pay some 5.5 billion euros to hold 100% of its insurance subsidiary. It has the means to finance this acquisition from its own resources, thanks in particular to a particularly high solvency ratio of more than 20%.

This total takeover of the life insurer is the logical continuation of its gradual integration into La Banque Postale, a project endorsed by the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, in August 2018. But, at the At the time, La Banque Postale had requested an exemption from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers not to be obliged to launch an offer on minority shareholders given the cost of the operation.

Integrated bancassurance model

Change of position therefore for La Banque Postale which presented, last March, an ambitious strategic plan, under the leadership of Philippe Heim, who arrived at the head of the postal bank in September 2020. The latter therefore takes over the model of Bancassurance dominates in France, with 100% integration of insurance subsidiaries, which make it possible to cushion, with the commissions generated, the downward trend in the intermediation margin of retail activities.

The simplification of CNP Assurances’ shareholding structure will make it possible to strengthen the efficiency of our bank-insurer model and accelerate its multi-partner and international expansion.” emphasizes Philippe Heim, Deputy Managing Director of La Poste Group, in charge of financial services.

From now on, CNP will be a regular contributor to the results of La Banque Postale, while the insurer had already “saved” the bank’s accounts in 2020. A contribution that is all the more important since financial services must make up for the loss of income from the La Poste Group in mail.

BPCE continues its reorganization

In turn, the mutual banking group, which should collect the tidy sum of around 2.4 billion euros with the sale of its stake in CNP, is continuing the reorganization of its subsidiaries, initiated in February 2021 with the announcement of the withdrawal delisting its main subsidiary Natixis, an operation finalized at the end of July. Incidentally, the Paris Stock Exchange will have lost, in less than a year, two important values ​​in the financial sector.

The memorandum of understanding provides for Natixis to buy La Banque Postale’s stakes in the management companies Ostrum AM (45%) and AEW Europe (40%) to hold 100% of the capital. These stakes are valued at around 240 million euros. Thus, Natixis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPCE, owns all of the capital of its asset management boutiques, with the exception of H20 AM, whose 50.01% stake is in the process of being sold to management.

After the integration of Natixis Assurances (which will be renamed BPCE Assurances) and Natixis Payment Solutions within BPCE, Natixis is now refocused on corporate banking and asset management (1.200 billion euros in assets). The group also has the proceeds of the sale of its shares in CNP Assurances to carry out, if necessary, external growth operations in asset management and consolidate its positions internationally.

Extended partnerships

The group does not exclude the future listing of a structure 100% dedicated to asset management in the event of a major operation, like what Crédit Agricole did with Amundi. It must be said that asset management companies are much better valued on the stock market than the banks themselves!

In the meantime, BPCE and La Banque Postale will continue their commercial and industrial partnership in asset management, in particular with an extension of all existing distribution and management agreements until 2030. Ostrum AM notably manages part of the CNP Assurances life insurance portfolio. The two groups also wish to extend until 2035, against 2030 currently, their partnership in the field of savings and pensions.