El Corte Inglés announced this Thursday a “great strategic alliance” with Mutua Madrileña, which has agreed to purchase 8% of the Spanish distribution group, from the department store giant’s treasury stock, for 555 million euros. In addition, Grupo Mutua will acquire 50.01% of each of the two companies that carry out the insurance activity of El Corte Inglés, SECI (Life and Accident Insurance) and CESS (Insurance Brokerage) for 550 million.
With the agreement, the insurer becomes the fourth shareholder of the department store giant, behind the Ramón Areces Foundation (37.39%), Cartera de Valores IASA (17.6%) and Qatari Sheikh Althani. Mutua will have a director in the highest management body of El Corte Inglés, a position that will be held by the president and CEO of the insurer, Ignacio Garralda.
El Corte Inglés explains that the agreement will allow both companies “to grow and offer distribution group customers a better, more complete and personalized insurance proposal.”
The boards of directors of both companies have approved the operation this week, the closing of which is pending that the pertinent administrative authorizations are obtained, and they have highlighted the success represented by the agreement “reached by two large national companies to develop the activity insurance company and patrimonial advice “.
“The entry of Mutua Madrileña into the capital of El Corte Inglés also reinforces the cooperation and bond between the two companies, which share values of excellence in service and customer experience”. The agreement foresees maintaining the Seguros El Corte Inglés brand, and “both groups also foresee the maintenance of 100% of employment.”
El Corte Inglés explains that the operation “will be very beneficial for customers, both because they will have access to a better, more complete and personalized range of insurance products, and because they will have an extensive national and international distribution network, which includes sales channels. both physical and digital. ”
“This industrial alliance for growth between both companies in the insurance sector will allow combining the leadership of El Corte Inglés in distribution with that of Grupo Mutua in general insurance, and will provide both companies with a greater capacity for growth in the insurance business, as well as greater customer loyalty and loyalty “.
Regarding the asset management activity, Mutuactivos will exclusively distribute its portfolio of savings and investment products among El Corte Inglés’ customer base through all the distribution group’s commercial channels and networks.
El Corte Inglés currently has more than 2,000 points of sale with a presence in most of the national territory, in Portugal and in various international locations. Its centers receive more than 700 million face-to-face visits a year and some 500 million visits through its online channels. “The operation represents a decisive step in the execution of the El Corte Inglés Strategic Plan, which in recent months has carried out important operations both commercially and corporately,” the commercial group highlights.
For its part, with this agreement, Grupo Mutua extends its distribution channels. The insurer, which pioneered the launch of the direct channel and entered the banking-insurance channel 10 years ago with CaixaBank with the purchase of 50% of SegurCaixa Adeslas and its takeover, will be present from now also in the “retail” channels of El Corte Inglés, which will allow access to a larger customer base.
As advisers to the operation, Société Générale and Garrigues, on behalf of Mutua, and Goldman Sachs, Uria and KPMG, the latter as co-adviser for insurance, on behalf of El Corte Inglés. In addition, there has been additional intervention from Bank of America and Deloitte.
The turnover of the Seguros El Corte Inglés Group in 2020 was 211 million euros, which represents around 2% of the distribution group’s turnover. According to ICEA sector statistics, it has a modest weight as the thirty-seventh insurer in the country, with premiums of about 219 million euros and a market share of 0.37%, which will be added to the 9.4% that Mutua Madrileña had as the third operator in the sector, behind Mapfre and Vidacaixa