The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of two new joint ventures in Poland (one for underwriting life assurance and one for underwriting general insurance) between the UK's Aviva insurance group and the Polish bank Bank Zachodni WBK S.A., controlled by the Allied Irish Banks group. The Commission concluded that the operation would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in any substantial part of it.
Aviva is an international insurance group that is also active in long term savings and fund management. Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. is a universal bank, offering services to personal customers, small and medium enterprises, large corporate companies, as well as a wide range of activities such as mutual funds, brokerage activities, factoring and asset management.
The Commission's investigation focused on the underwriting of insurance products in the Polish market, where the two joint ventures will exclusively be active and on a possible vertical relationship, as both parent companies are active in asset and pension fund management.
The Commission's investigation indicated that as far as the Polish insurance market is concerned, the parties would have combined market shares below 15%.
Regarding asset and pension fund management Aviva and Bank Zachodni would have combined market shares between 20% and 30%. However, the market investigation did not indicate any competition concerns. [5 February 2008]