AmTrust Financial Services agreed to sell more than 10 million shares it owns in National General Holdings Corp for $211.7 million, a move the specialty property/casualty insurance holding company said will help to simplify its balance sheet.
The plan calls for AmTrust to sell 10,586,000 shares it owns in National General at $20 per share, reflecting an 8.3 percent discount to National General’s closing market price on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange on June 8. This will take place through separate, privately-negotiated purchase agreements with unaffiliated third parties, AmTrust said.
AmTrust has held an ownership interest in National General since 2010. Selling the shares is a way to simplify the company’s balance sheet and investment portfolio, new AmTrust Chief Financial Officer Adam Karkowsky said.
“Our investment in National General has delivered meaningful returns, as National General’s business has grown over the past several years, Karkowski said in prepared remarks. “We appreciate the opportunity that our former Chairman Michael Karfunkel provided to us to participate as a co-investor in [National General’s] equity.”
Karfunkel previously launched AmTrust with his brother, and was the founder, chairman and CEO of National General, a publicly-held specialty personal lines insurance holding companies with products including personal and commercial automobile, homeowners and umbrella and supplemental health. Karfunkel died in April 2016.
Karkowsky became AmTrust’s CFO earlier in June. He was previously the company’s executive vice president for Strategic Development and Mergers & Acquisitions, a position he held since March 2011. He replaced Ronald Pipoly, Jr., who had served as CFO since 2005 and remains as part of the transition.
Karkowsky, in his previous role, led AmTrust’s merger and acquisition initiatives and oversaw AmTrust’s corporate development and corporate strategy.
AmTrust delayed its 2016 annual report by a few weeks in March to allow for an audit and restate financial statements for the year, as well as related disclosures for 2014 and 2015. Those restatements led to a 7.2 percent decline of net income attributable to common stockholders in 2014 and an 11.2 percent drop in 2015. AmTrust said the reports of its former independent auditor BDO USA were at issue. The company has since said it has boosted its internal financial controls, and created a chief accounting officer position.
Recently, the family of Zyskind and director George Karfunkel (the late Michael Karfunkel’s brother) injected $300 million into the company for new shares in a private placement. The action was meant to stabilize AmTrust, as its market capitalization dropped by about half so far this year ($2.1 billion.)
Separately, AmTrust has been touting the news that it made the Fortune 500 list for the first time, a list that notes the largest U.S. companies by total revenue. AmTrust booked $5.45 billion in revenue in 2016, an 18 percent jump from the previous year. It was ranked 475 on the latest Fortune 500 list.
Source: AmTrust Financial Services Inc.