Oliver Bäte can relax and look forward to his presentation at the end of the week. When the wiry chief executive of Allianz, Europe’s largest primary insurer, submits the results of the 2016 fiscal year alongside Chief Financial Officer Dieter Wemmer at the firm’s headquarters in Munich, the figures are likely to be sound.
Even so, the quick-thinking boss may be required to do some explaining to investors and analysts.
Mr. Bäte has a small but serious problem. Hardly any of the investors will really be concentrating on the numbers. More open than Allianz bosses of the past, the top executive has made it clear that his group is on the lookout for a match. “Only a larger company would help us,” he recently said in an interview. His comments awoke fantasies that are now catching up with him.
It was a broad hint, about a billion euros wide, that roused the industry – and has now put Mr. Bäte in an awkward position.