Liberty to finalise Nigerian acquisition soon

Liberty Holdings Limited, the South African insurer controlled by Standard Bank Group, said it may conclude a deal in Nigeria by the end of January.

speaking in an interview at the recently concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, the chief executive officer the Johannesburg-based company, Thabo Dloti, said “We have an opportunity we hope to conclude at the end of the month. We are not doing a outright purchase. We are looking for partners.”

Liberty said in August it was in talks with both insurers and asset management companies in the country. The insurer’s investment plans have been slowed by deadly bombings and kidnappings in Nigeria, Dloti said in May.

It bought Standard Bank Investment Management Services Ghana in October, giving it a presence in 17 African countries.

“We are targeting both these countries as an entry point in to West Africa,” Dloti said. “We are going through a short list,” he added.

As early as April 2013, Liberty had indicated its intention to acquire insurance businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, hoping to make a purchase of about R1billion without recourse to debt funding.

The head of the business development cluster at Liberty, Mukesh Mittal, said the plan was to acquire quality asset management and insurance businesses in Nigeria and Ghana.

The plan in West Africa was to replicate the offering that Liberty had in South Africa, but include short-term insurance, a solution the insurer did not offer in South Africa.

“We have some potentials in the pipeline,” Mittal hinted, adding that “We are also looking beyond West Africa.”

Source : Independent

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