(Adds background, share price)
LAGOS, July 16 Private equity firm Emerging
Capital Partners plans to sell its 50.6 percent stake in
Continental Reinsurance, the African insurer said
in a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Emerging Capital Partners is the majority shareholder in
Continental Reinsurance, which has operations in Cameroon, Ivory
Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia.
The private equity firm first invested $25.8 million in the
insurer in 2007 for a 30 percent stake, to help increase its
underwriting capacity to $80 million from $15 million, Emerging
Capital Partners said on its website.
Continental Reinsurance did not give a reason for the sale.
Shares in the insurer, which gained 62 percent last year,
fell 4.27 percent on Wednesday to 1.12 naira, valuing the
company at 12.14 billion naira ($75.1 mln).
Insurance companies in Africa's largest economy are betting
on growing premiums as Nigeria develops its infrastructure and a
consumer class that would demand protection from risk.
Nigeria's FBN Insurance launched a bid this month to buy out
the 28.8 percent minority stake in Oasis Insurance
that it does not already own in a deal valued at 1.03 billion
Continental Reinsurance, Nigeria's second-largest insurance
firm, covers life and non-life business.
($1 = 161.70 naira)
(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by David Goodman)