SOURCE: Hannover Ruck

June 01, 2007 02:05 ET

Hannover Re - Sale of Praetorian Group to Australian insurer completed

HANNOVER, GERMANY--(Marketwire - June 1, 2007) -

Hannover, 1 June 2007: The sale of Hannover Re's US subsidiary Praetorian Financial Group, Inc., New York, to the Australian QBE Insurance Group Ltd., Sydney - which had been agreed in December 2006 - was closed effective 31 May 2007 upon receipt of the required approval from regulators.

QBE's US subsidiary has acquired all shares of Praetorian. The purchase price of slightly in excess of USD 800 million is equivalent to 2.1 times Praetorian shareholders' equity excluding goodwill as at year-end 2006.

"Following the successful closing of this transaction we shall concentrate on our core business of reinsurance going forward", Wilhelm Zeller, Hannover Re's Chief Executive Officer, affirmed. "As we have already indicated, the risk capital that has been freed up is to be profitably invested in both non-life and life/health reinsurance business. This will enable us to more than offset the loss of Praetorian's profit contribution." Mr. Zeller added, "We appreciate the combined efforts of Praetorian's employees and their trading partners, all of which contributed to a successful transaction close."

Hannover Re can tap into profitable growth opportunities in a number of areas, including for example by raising its retention in the still lucrative property catastrophe segment, by writing additional US catastrophe business, and also by cultivating new markets - such as in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Islamic world. As a further step, Hannover Re increased its stake in its profitable subsidiary E+S Rück by 10% to 65.8% effective 1 April 2007. Last but not least, acquisitions in life and health reinsurance remain a possibility insofar as they make strategic and economic sense.

For further information please contact:

Press and Public Relations / Investor Relations:
Stefan Schulz (tel. +49 / 511 / 56 04-15 00,

Press and Public Relations:
Gabriele Handrick (tel. +49 / 511 / 56 04-15 02,

Investor Relations:
Gabriele Bödeker (tel. +49 / 511 / 56 04-17 36,
Hannover Re, with a gross premium of around 9 billion euro, is one of the leading reinsurance groups in the world. It transacts all lines of non-life and life and health reinsurance. It maintains business relations with more than 5,000 insurance companies in about 150 countries. Its worldwide network consists of more than 100 subsidiaries, branch and representative offices in around 20 countries with a total staff of roughly 2,000. The rating agencies most relevant to the insurance industry have awarded Hannover Re very strong insurer financial strength ratings (Standard & Poor's AA- "Very Strong" and A.M. Best A "Excellent").


Some of the statements in this press release may be forward-looking statements or statements of future expectations based on currently available information. Such statements are naturally subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors such as the development of general economic conditions, future market conditions, unusual catastrophic loss events, changes in the capital markets and other circumstances may cause the actual events or results to be materially different from those anticipated by such statements. Hannover Re does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or updated status of such statements. Therefore, in no case whatsoever will Hannover Re and its affiliate companies be liable to anyone for any decision made or action taken in conjunction with the information and/or statements in this press release or for any related damages.

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