JOHANNESBURG, April 23 (Reuters) - South Africa's biggest insurer Sanlam said on Wednesday it would acquire a majority stake in Malaysia's MCIS Zurich Insurance Berhad for about 1.25 billion rand ($119 million), further expanding its footprint in the southeast Asian nation.
Sanlam said it would initially buy a 40 percent from a major shareholder, Koperasi MCIS Berhad, and another 11 percent through an offer to minority shareholders.
After the purchase, MCIS Zurich will have to dispose of its short-term insurance business as Malaysian regulations do not allow an investor to operate more than one life or general insurance licence.
Sanlam already has a short-term insurance business in Malaysia after acquiring a 49 percent share in Pacific & Orient Insurance Co. in 2013.
Sanlam, which also has operations in India and 15 African countries, has a war chest of more than $370 million for acquisitions in emerging markets this year. ($1 = 10.5448 South African Rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)