S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.
On the deal table
* U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond authorized the sale of Bradford & Bingley Plc loans to Prudential Plc and funds managed by Blackstone Group LP for £11.8 billion.
* A majority of Delta Lloyd NV's shareholders approved the company's conditional legal merger with NN Group Bidco BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of NN Group NV. The approval means Delta Lloyd now needs acceptances from shareholders representing 67% of Delta Lloyd shares to declare its offer unconditional, rather than the previous 95%. Taiwanese shareholder Fubon Financial Holding said it would accept NN Group's offer and sell its entire stake in Delta Lloyd.
* PZU SA and the Polish Development Fund reached an agreement with UniCredit SpA to directly carry out their acquisition of a combined 32.8% stake in Bank Pekao SA, instead of using a special-purpose vehicle. Earlier in the week, PZU obtained unconditional consent from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine to acquire a stake in the Italian lender's Polish unit.
* The Dutch central bank cleared Chesnara Plc's proposed €160 million acquisition of Legal & General Group Plc's Legal & General Nederland Levensverzekering Maatschappij NV. The acquisition is expected to complete by April 6.
* Cinven Ltd. and Permira Advisers LLP sold a combined 10.2% stake in U.K.-based financial services firm JRP Group Plc
* Aviva Plc is considering selling unit Friends Provident International Ltd. for up to $750 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. Aviva has reportedly received a number of pre-emptive offers for the unit, which has been placed under strategic review. Chinese conglomerates Fosun Group and HNA Group Co. Ltd. are among entities said to be evaluating the unit.
* Standard Life Plc agreed to sell its Hong Kong insurance business, Standard Life (Asia) Ltd., to its Chinese joint-venture insurance business, Heng An Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
EU bases chosen
* Lloyd's of London plans to establish a new European insurance subsidiary in Brussels, allowing the marketplace to write risks from EU countries after the U.K. leaves the bloc. Lloyd's CEO Inga Beale said Brussels met the critical elements of providing a robust regulatory framework in a central European location. Lloyd's also reported a full-year 2016 pro forma result before tax of £2.11 billion, virtually unchanged from £2.12 billion in 2015.
* Meanwhile, Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd. CEO Phil Loney told Reuters the insurer will turn its operations in Ireland into a subsidiary because of Brexit. The company also reported operating profit before tax for 2016 on a European embedded value basis of £282 million, up from £244 million in the year-ago period.
In other news
* Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG reported full-year 2016 IFRS consolidated net profit of €235.3 million, down from €274.3 million in 2015. The company will invest about €100 million in digitization over the next three years and expects the persistent low-interest-rate environment to continue to pose "a great challenge" for life insurers.
* A spokesman for Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. reportedly said the company is seeking shareholder approval to raise capital but is not planning to issue shares at this point.
* Chubb Ltd. appointed John Thompson division president of the international accident and health business.
* Swiss Life Holding Ltd. CEO Patrick Frost will take time off until August to undergo treatment for cancer, Reuters reported. CFO Thomas Buess will oversee operations in his absence.
Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence
Q&A: Lloyd's chairman says US protectionism a worry as EU base unveiled: Lloyd's of London's Chairman John Nelson told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the market should be watchful of protectionist policies from the new U.S. administration as he unveiled plans to maintain access to EU markets following Brexit.
Lloyd's of London says new EU base in Brussels will cost 'tens of millions'PZU's planned foreign expansion seen as unlikely by analysts: Poland's PZU would like to derive up to a quarter of its profits from foreign operations, but with its excess capital going to a bank acquisition, analysts are convinced the firm will more likely focus on the domestic market.
Motor insurance execs see industry crashing as automation goes mainstream: U.K. motor insurance executives say the industry is set to go the way of the dinosaurs as self-driving cars take to the road, but they insist that there are healthy profits to be made in the medium term.
350,000 UK insurance, finance jobs to go by early-2030s, PwC predicts: Hundreds of thousands of jobs are under threat in finance and insurance in the U.K., but the outlook for employees is even more worrying on the other side of the Atlantic, PwC said.