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Vienna Insurance Group to enter Kosovo, Albania, and FYROM

Vienna - 19 march 2007 - Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG Vienna Insurance Group plans to enter the Albanian insurance market.

TBIH Financial Services Group N.V. (TBIH), in which Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG Vienna Insurance Group holds a majority share*, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of at least 60 percent of the shares of Sigma Sh.a. headquartered in Tirana.

The non-life insurance company Sigma Sh.a. was founded in 1998. The company has a subsidiary in Macedonia and a branch office in Kosovo and employs in total about 160 members of staff.

“Sigma Sh.a. enables the Vienna Insurance Group the early entry into three new insurance markets with a high potential to catch up. The parent company is the second largest insurance group in Albania and already well positioned in the market”, comments Günter Geyer, CEO of Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG Vienna Insurance Group. ”Following this transaction Vienna Insurance Group attains another geographical diversification. We will be present in as many as 20 countries, showing a unique market position in the dynamic Eastern and South eastern European region.”

In the year 2006, Sigma Sh.a. generated an overall premium volume of about EUR 15 million in all three countries. The main focus is on motor insurance. In Albania Sigma Sh.a. has a market share of roughly 19 percent and therefore ranks on an excellent second market position. With a total of 25 branch offices as well as agents in all three markets, Sigma Sh.a. has a nationwide distribution network.

In 2005, the Albanian insurance market recorded a total premium volume of EUR 32 million. With a penetration rate of only 0.5% (insurance premiums as a percentage of GDP) Albania has a long term catch-up potential in relation to the more mature markets in Western Europe (EU-15 countries with a 8.6% penetration rate).

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