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Investment manager increases stake in Argus Insurance

Investment solutions: Equilibria Capital Management Limited has increased its equity stake in Argus Group Holdings Limited (Photograph by David Fox)

The largest shareholder of Argus Group Holdings Limited, has increased its equity stake, according to a filing with the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

Bermuda-headquartered Equilibria Capital Management Limited, with offices in Hamilton, Geneva and Madrid, now owns nearly a third of Argus, which is expected to be a key player in the future of healthcare in Bermuda.

Equilibria provides investment solutions to private and institutional clients.

Founded in 2011, it manages investment funds, operates in the real estate sector and is involved in private equity investments.

Equilibria continued to build its holdings in Argus stock, even as the insurer sought last year to make an unpopular acquisition of rival insurer, BF&M.

In July 2020, Equilibria said it owned 11 per cent of Argus, and by November that year, they had 12.5 per cent of the shares.

The two companies entered into a “relationship agreement” at that point, and as part of the deal, the investment company received a seat on the board.

In January 2021, the Equilibria stake was 15.36 per cent, and by June of that year, the fund had increased its holdings to 17.12 per cent.

By last July, Equilibria had become a 23.90 per cent owner of Argus Group Holdings. And by September, the investment manager had increased its holdings to 27.20 per cent of the Bermuda insurer.

The board size was reduced from 12 to nine, term limits of nine years for directors of the company was introduced, with Equilibria installing three new board members.

Argus, through a subsidiary, had agreed in June to buy 36.9 per cent of BF&M from an existing shareholder, Camellia PLC, for $100 million, prior to the transaction being challenged by the rival’s poison pill defence, and, opposition from Equilibria.

In 2020, Argus acquired Bermuda’s two largest medical practices for $24 million. Representing over 40 per cent of primary care in Bermuda, Island Health Services and the Family Practice Group and their approximately 15 doctors were swept into Argus Group Holdings Ltd.

• Meanwhile, Camellia PLC has issued a statement update on their planned sale of BF&M shares.

The statement read: “As announced in June 2023, we agreed the sale of our 37 per cent holding in BF&M to Bermuda Life Insurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of Argus Group Holdings Limited for a cash consideration of $100m, conditional on receipt of a number of regulatory and tax approvals.

“Following the announcement of this proposed disposal, BF&M’s board implemented a shareholder rights agreement, the objective of which was to act as a ‘poison pill’ in the event of any new shareholder seeking to register a more than 15 per cent shareholding without BF&M’s consent.

“This shareholder rights agreement has since been removed. However, BF&M thereafter separately announced a partnership with Equilibria Capital Management Limited (Argus’ major shareholder) under which Equilibria will grant BF&M an exclusive option to acquire a 13.7 per cent stake in Argus.

“As part of this partnership, BF&M has also committed to a significant investment in a dedicated Equilibria investment fund which will include as its initial investment a 16.3 per cent stake in Argus.

“As previously communicated, these developments have impacted the anticipated timetable for regulatory approvals for the sale. While a number of the required regulatory and tax approvals have been forthcoming, some key approvals remain outstanding which we now expect in Q2 2024.“

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Published April 01, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 01, 2024 at 12:07 pm)

Investment manager increases stake in Argus Insurance

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