VENTURES AFRICA – Life insurer, Old Mutual, has completed the acquisition of a major stake in Oceanic Life, the life assurance unit of Nigeria’s former Oceanic Bank, it was announced yesterday.
Old Mutual and Ecobank did not disclose the amount of money involved to acquire Oceanic Life. Old Mutual acquired this stake from Ecobank which took over Oceanic Bank in 2011.
This deal throws Old Mutual right at the centre of the Nigerian market, which it has been willing to enter for a long time.
The Nigerian market, with over 150 million people, whose majority is said to be either under-covered or uncovered, is seen as lucrative by South African life insurers.
South Africa’s life assurers Sanlam and Metropolitan, which recently merged with Momentum, already have a presence in Nigeria.
On Wednesday, Old Mutual and Ecobank Group, said the acquisition will lead to a name change from Oceanic Life to Old Mutual Nigeria.
Ralph Mupita, the CEO of Old Mutual’s Emerging Markets, said they will continue to work with Ecobank to expand their product offerings to the Nigerian market.
“The growth dynamics of the industry are exciting and prospects are good for further development of our business operations in West Africa,” Mupita said.
Old Mutual is the international wealth manager listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and has a presence in India and other strategic European destinations. It derives most of its profits from South Africa, where it was first established many years ago.
Old Mutual is linked to Ecobank Group through its subsidiary, Nedbank. In 2008, Nedbank and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, entered into a strategic business cooperation relationship, providing customers access to a combined pan-African banking network covering 33 countries.
Thierry Tanoh, Ecobank CEO, said he welcomed this development as Old Mutual was renowned as one of the finest insurance providers in Africa.
“Ecobank Group would rather concentrate in its core area, which is banking, and leave insurance business for the experts, which Old Mutual represents. Ecobank will remain a minority shareholder in Old Mutual Nigeria,” Tanoh said.