Spain's Mapfre buys Direct Line in Germany, Italy

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MADRID (AP) — Spanish insurance company Mapfre says it has bought the German and Italian units of Britain's Direct Line motor insurance group for 550 million euros ($705 million).

Mapfre said in a statement Thursday that the two units have a total of 714 million euros in insurance premiums, 1.6 million clients and had 19.5 million euros in pretax profit in 2013.

Direct Line specializes in selling policies directly to consumers by telephone and the internet. Mapfre said the Italian and German affiliates were the largest and third-largest direct car insurance companies in their countries, respectively.

Based in Madrid, Mapfre S.A. operates in 46 countries.

The company's shares were down 0.27 percent at 2.9 euros in trading in Madrid.