21 May 2015News

Benchimol confident Axis can go it alone

Albert Benchimol, the chief executive officer of Axis Capital, is optimistic about the future of the company, even if the merger with PartnerRe were to fall through.

In a letter to Axis staff, Benchimol reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the merger with PartnerRe following the announcement that PartnerRe’s board of directors will engage in discussions with Italian investment company Exor.

The board secured a waiver from Axis, which allows for direct engagement with Exor with customary access, including due diligence to determine whether its offer can be improved.

He added that the board of PartnerRe publicly stated that is has not changed its recommendation with respect to, and continues to support, the pending merger with Axis.

However, he explained that if the merger were to fall through, Axis still has a bright future.

“We are a great company on our own, and were successfully pursuing our own standalone strategy when PartnerRe approached us with the proposed merger. We agreed to the merger because it accelerated our strategy, and we intend to work on making it happen,” he said.

“But if it doesn't, we are still the same strong company we were before we announced the merger, and if PartnerRe sells to another party we expect to receive a $280 million break-up fee that would increase our book value by approximately 5 percent.”