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QBE to purchase Winterthur US

Australian insurance provider QBE is to acquire Axa's property and casualty operations Winterthur US, as part of QBE's strategy of building four main streams of business in the US to include specialist insurance programs, property and casualty insurance in regional markets, reinsurance and Latin America.

QBE will purchase Winterthur US for a total purchase price of $1.16 billion, in which Winterthur US will repay $636 million of inter-company loans to Winterthur Group.

Based in Wisconsin, Winterthur US writes property and casualty insurance risks through 1,700 independent agents in 33 US states. The purchase is expected to provide an excellent infrastructure for the expansion of QBE’s property and casualty insurance stream.

The transaction is subject to appropriate regulatory approval and expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2007.