Brussels, 19 July 2001
Commission clears acquisition of Dresdner Bank by Allianz AG
In view of remedies offered by the parties concerned, the Commission has given the go ahead for the Allianz insurance group to take over Dresdner Bank. The Commission's investigations focused on the consequences of the creation of a strong 'bancassurance' group and the impact of the planned takeover on the relationship between the new Allianz/Dresdner group and the Münchener Rück/Ergo group, a major competitor.
Allianz AG is the largest life and non-life insurance company in Germany. Dresdner Bank AG is Germany's third largest universal commercial bank. Both companies are also actively involved in asset management. The merger will create Germany's largest 'bancassurance' group.
Although the activities of the two companies present very small overlaps, the Commission carefully examined the possible consequences of the merger given the strong distribution networks of both companies. It also looked at the new group's position on the new growth market for personal pension schemes – the so-called Riester pension.
The Commission's examination led it to conclude that, while Allianz would improve its competitive position as a result of the 'bancassurance' alliance with Dresdner, there was no risk of a dominant position being created or strengthened.
However, in the course of its review the Commission noted a large number of structural and economic links between the new Allianz/Dresdner group and the Münchener Rück/Ergo group, a major competitor, which would be considerably strengthened by the merger. In view of the strong position on the market of the Münchener Rück/Ergo group, which, together with the Bayerischen Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG (HVB), has also developed into a major 'bancassurance' group, the Commission had serious misgivings on this score.
Allianz and Münchener Rück had declared their intention to reduce their mutual holdings to around 20% as part of the planned merger. In order to remove the Commission's concerns, Allianz and Dresdner gave a legally binding assurance that they would reduce their joint holdings in Münchener Rück to 20.5% by the end of 2003 and would not in the meantime exercise more than 20.5% of their voting rights at Münchener Rück's annual general meetings. Presently, Allianz and Dresdner hold 24,9 % and 7.4%, respectively, in Münchener Rück.
Accordingly, the Commission has reached the conclusion that the planned merger will neither create nor strengthen a dominant position that would significantly restrict competition within the Community. It therefore considers the notified operation to be compatible with the common market.