QBE buyout divides analysts

15 August 2008

Insurance giant QBE's buyout of mortgage insurance units from PMI group is to give the firm a useful financial fillip, Bloomberg reports.

According to notes from Citigroup and ABN Amro, the acquisition of the Asian and Australian businesses for $896 million will increase earnings - which have been subject to a slowdown due to the current climate.

Nigel Pittaway at Citi said: "The deal has the potential to be substantially more accretive than we have currently allowed for in our numbers…[it] has all the hallmarks of a traditional QBE acquisition, entering a market with a distressed seller and obtaining a business at an attractive price.''

In a separate note, Nick Caley at ABN Amro added: "In our view the market has been keen to see QBE make another material acquisition to offset the ongoing leakage in the global premium cycle."

However, analyst sentiment is far from united on the purchase.

Speaking to the news agency, Brett Le Mesurier at Wilson HTM claimed that he was "not convinced", following the failure of a recent buyout attempt from QBE.

He added: "This deal tells me QBE is desperate to do any kind of acquisition after failing to win Insurance Australia."

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