Generali has earmarked up to four billion euros for acquisitions and growth as it looks to asset management and high-margin business in Latin America and Asia to fuel earnings.
Italy’s top insurer — which generates most of its revenues in Italy, France and Germany — said in its new plan covering the next three years it was keen to strengthen its position as Europe’s top player.
But it also said it was looking to expand in emerging markets where margins were higher. It said Asian and Latin America markets could provide up to 25 percent of annual earnings growth.
“Europe is a priority for M&A but we’ll also look at high-potential markets if it can give us size,” General Manager Frederic de Courtois told analysts.
He said deals would involve insurers and asset managers but cautioned there was no rush and nothing was currently on the table.
If suitable targets had not been found by the end of the plan then other solutions to use the capital would be considered, including a share buyback, de Courtois added.
Europe’s third-biggest insurer will generate more than 10 billion euros [$11.4 billion] cash in the next three years, paying 4.5-5 billion euros [$5.1 billion-$5.7 billion] in dividends, cutting debt by up to 2 billion euros [$2.3 billion] and deploying 3-4 billion euros [$3.4 billion-$4.6 billion] for growth.
“Asset management is increasingly complementary and by the end of 2021 we will be an insurance and asset management group,” Chief Executive Philippe Donnet said.
Donnet, who took over as CEO in 2016, has been selling off non-core assets over the past two years to focus on capital-light products, new services and fee-based businesses.
Generali is looking to grow its managed asset business so it can cross-sell products to its policy holders and avoid paying fees to third-party operators to boost earnings.