MEXICO CITY - Having committed nearly $2 billion in Mexican investments in four years, the Dutch ING Group may inject an extra $200 million to strengthen Seguros Comercial America, the country's top private insurer.
The $2 billion includes $791 million that ING has agreed to pay for an additional 45% stake in SCA, increasing its holding to 87%. It took its original stake in early 2000.
"This is ING's largest and most significant investment in Latin America," said Glenn Hilliard, chairman and chief executive of ING America.
But it may not end there. ING is now evaluating further moves, including the potential capital injection needed to strengthen SCA's technical reserves and plans for the 13% stake in the company that is currently floating in local stock markets.
"We hope to have an answer to that in short order," said Mr. Hilliard.
The SCA deal, which was announced Monday, will be financed internally. It will give ING control of a company that currently has 39% of the property and casualty insurance market and an 18% share of the life insurance segment in Mexico.
Several global financial services companies are moving aggressively into Mexico.
Recent transactions include New York Life Insurance Co.'s purchase of Seguros Monterrey and Fianzas Monterrey for $570 million from Grupo Financiero Bancomer and U.S.-based Aetna Inc. Aetna, in turn, sold for $693 million its insurance and pension interests to the recently created Grupo Financiero BBVA-Bancomer.
Also, General Motors Acceptance Corp.'s GMAC Insurance Holdings Inc. paid $100 million for the local insurer ABA Seguros, and Citigroup Inc. plans to acquire the financial group Grupo Financiero Banamex Accival for $12.5 billion.
Mr. Hilliard said ING will be able to establish a solid foothold in Mexico by "pulling together a better customer proposition."
ING is not considering entering the retail banking business, he said, but the company could use its Mexican operations "as a platform to expand into other markets" in Latin America as well as the Hispanic niche in the United States.