Russia’s Biggest Online Insurer Eyes Deals Ahead of Planned IPO
Renaissance Insurance, Russia’s largest online policy provider, is trawling the country’s traditional insurers for acquisition targets as it prepares for a possible initial public offering.
RenIns -- which hired banks earlier this month for an IPO -- is exploring ways to fund the purchases and invest in its telemedicine business, Chairman of the Board Boris Jordan said in an interview.
“We’ve realized we can consolidate mainline traditional insurers onto our infrastructure,” Jordan said. “The adoption of online services, particularly in the financial services sector, is starting to grow, but it is still in its infancy” in Russia, he said.
Russian retail and tech companies are leading a local uptick in share sales, tracking the trend in the global IPO market as countries recover from the pandemic. Renaissance Insurance selected JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and VTB Group as global coordinators to work on a possible offering, according to people familiar with the plans.
An intention-to-float document may come in September, with the company looking to raise about $250 million and shareholders offering as much as a $150 million stake, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Jordan declined to comment on a possible deal.
Jordan’s Sputnik Group and partners own a 53% stake, and a group of investors linked to billionaire Roman Abramovich and some of his business partners bought almost 29% in the company in May. Baring Vostok investment funds are among the other shareholders.
RenIns has 3.6 million customers and its pace of expansion outstrips the market’s, according to Jordan. Since the pandemic, its direct-to-consumer offerings are its fastest-growing segment, he said.
Renaissance companies had a 5.1% share of Russian insurance premiums in the first half of 2021, putting it in the top ten of local insurers, according to Expert RA ratings agency.
The company aims to take market share from “traditional insurers that aren’t as nimble,” Jordan said.
RenIns’ telemedicine start-up Budu, which it spun off this year, is one of its most promising businesses, Jordan said.
RenIns holds a 49% stake in Budu, with RenIns’ shareholders owning the remainder. The company was created to provide regional customers with better medical services and now offers its services to the wider market.
“To do that first diagnosis online is going to be massively cost-saving,” Jordan said. “Russia is embracing this, but they need to create a regulatory framework.”
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