* To buy P&C unit of Ecobank for $20 mln
* Q3 life insurance sales 278 mln stg, down 10 pct
* To close Austrian, German units to new customers
LONDON, Nov 7 Insurer Old Mutual
unveiled a Nigerian acquisition as it pressed ahead with plans
to grow in sub-Saharan Africa, and said it was closing its
Austrian and German units to new customers.
Old Mutual, an Anglo-South African financial conglomerate
with operations in about 30 countries, has agreed to buy the
Nigerian property and casualty insurance unit of pan-African
lender Ecobank for about $20 million, it said on Wednesday.
The company, which aims to boost its presence in sub-Saharan
Africa to cash in on the region's strong economic growth, also
said its German and Austrian life operations would stop writing
new business as they no longer met its investment criteria.
Old Mutual has over the past three years sold businesses
including its Nordic life insurance unit to repay debt and
dispel investor concerns that the group lacked focus and would
be worth more broken up.
Old Mutual had life insurance sales of 278 million pounds,
in the three months to Sept. 30, down 10 percent from a year
earlier, and broadly in line with the 275 million pounds
expected by analysts in a company poll.
Non-covered sales rose 4 percent to 3.76 billion pounds,
ahead of the 3.2 billion pounds pencilled in by analysts.
Shares in Old Mutual, which quit its historic home of South
Africa and listed in London in 1999, closed at 174 pence on
Tuesday, valuing it at about 8.4 billion pounds.
The stock has risen 27 percent in the past year,
outperforming a 6 percent increase for the FTSE 100 share index