Successful in CEE
The integration of the former AXA subsidiaries in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic is going exactly according to plan.
In 2021, the integration of the companies acquired by the AXA Group in 2020 progressed exactly as planned in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This acquisition – which involved around 5 million customers, 2,100 employees and €800 million in premiums – has made UNIQA one of the leading insurance groups in CEE. The operational merger and the realisation of initial synergies have already been completed as planned. Now the process is continuing rapidly.
Rapid operational integration
The integration of the acquired companies began immediately after the closing on 15 October 2020. Phase I – which included the legal merger of the respective country companies, the rebranding to the UNIQA brand in line with the Group’s one-brand strategy and the operational merger – has already been successfully completed. The changeover to the new organisational structure took place smoothly in all countries, and the existing business was not only secured, but even further expanded.
Leveraging long-term synergies ...
The next step, Phase II, will be to standardise the product range, customer-oriented processes and IT landscape. This increased cross-border use of commonalities and capabilities within the Group is intended to underpin the long-term synergy objective from the acquisition. Specifically, savings of €45 million per year are to be achieved by 2024. This objective is already within reach thanks to the very successful progress of the integration. €20 million of this has already been secured, and the rest is backed by concrete measures throughout. The staff reduction of around 600 full-time employees associated with the integration is also progressing faster than planned, and almost half of it was already implemented by the end of 2021.
... and strategic transformation
Finally, Phase III will see the implementation of UNIQA 3.0 in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well. The focus will be on the business model, digitalisation and automation along with the corporate culture.
According to the current plan, most of the measures will be completed by the end of 2023. Part of the integration costs could already be covered by realised synergies in 2021, and UNIQA already expects clearly positive net effects in the current year. As the integration progresses, the earnings contributions from the new companies should continue to increase significantly, as the integration costs will decrease significantly while the synergies begin to take full effect.
Unique opportunity, perfect strategic fit
With a purchase price of around €1 billion, the acquisition of the former AXA companies was both the largest corporate acquisition in UNIQA’s history and the largest acquisition in the Austrian insurance industry in Central and Eastern Europe to date. The AXA companies fit perfectly into our long-term growth strategy, because with their focus on profitable retail business, a balanced product mix and a dense sales network, they ideally complement our existing business. With this acquisition, the UNIQA Group is strengthening its position in the highly competitive CEE growth markets on a sustainable basis and moves from number seven to number five in the region as a whole. With this transaction, we have gained private and corporate customers in three growth markets in which we were already very profitable.