Sompo Japan says in talks to buy Lloyd's insurer Canopius
TOKYO (Reuters) - Sompo Japan Insurance said on Sunday it was in talks to buy Canopius Group, privately-held insurance and reinsurance group operating in the Lloyd's of London insurance market.
Nikkei business daily said the Japanese company and Canopius shareholders are expected to reach an agreement as early as this week in a deal valued at about 100 billion yen ($970 million).
A Sompo Japan spokesman declined to comment on the timing of the agreement and the deal value. Sompo Japan is a unit of NKSJ Holdings (8630.T), one of Japan's top three property-casualty insurers.
Lloyd's syndicate Canopius operates in Europe, the United States, Singapore and Australia. It had gross written premiums of 692 million pounds ($1.13 billion) in 2012 and has 560 employees, according to the company website. It is 84 percent owned by funds managed by private equity group Bregal Capital LLP.
Japanese insurers have been aggressively buying overseas assets as they seek growth beyond home markets, where ageing population poses greater challenges to expand their revenues.
Rival Tokio Marine Holdings (8766.T) acquired U.S. insurer Delphi for about $2.7 billion in 2011.
Earlier this month Japan's fourth-largest private life insurer, Sumitomo Life Insurance SMTLI.UL, bought a 40 percent stake in the life insurance unit of PT Bank Negara Indonesia BBNI.JK for 4.2 trillion rupiah ($351.10 million). ($1 = 103.1400 Japanese yen) ($1 = 0.6143 British pounds)
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