Berkshire Hathaway Increases Asia Presence with Minority Stake in IAG

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

On the heels of Berkshire Hathaway’s recent move into the Australian insurance market, the company has announced that it has purchased a minority stake Australian insurer Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG).

Berkshire has agreed to pay A$500 million (US$387.8 million) for 3.7% of IAG.

In addition to the ownership stake, Berkshire will receive 20% of IAG’s premiums and in exchange will pay 20% of its claims over the next 10 years, a move that right off the bat will bring Berkshire $1.78 billion of premium annually.

“Our strategic partnership with IAG will help fast-track our entry into this region,” Warren Buffett said. “We have worked with IAG for more than 15 years and over that time we’ve developed a good understanding and respect for their people.”

IAG is the parent company of a general insurance group with operations in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam. The company employs more than 15,000 people.

IAG’s brands include NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIO, SGIC, Swann, WFI and Lumley Insurance (Australia); NZI, State, AMI and Lumley Insurance (New Zealand); Safety and NZI (Thailand); and AAA Assurance (Vietnam). IAG also has interests in general insurance joint ventures in Malaysia, India and China.

Standard & Poor’s has assigned a ‘Very Strong’ Insurer Financial Strength Rating of ‘AA-’ to IAG’s core operating subsidiaries.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) recently received its insurance license to provide all lines of General Business in Australia, and established operations in Sydney. Chris Colahan was named President of BHSI’s Australasia Region, and four executives from American International Group are also on board.

Non-Dilution Rights

Under a waiver granted by the Australian Securities Exchange, IAG has agreed to give non-dilution rights to Berkshire, granting the company the right to buy shares at the same price as other investors if there is an issuance of securities.

(This article has been updated with new information since it was published.)

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.