August 30, 2017 / 10:51 AM / a year ago

Allianz buys Nigerian insurer in African push

LAGOS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Germany’s Allianz said on Wednesday it is buying control of Nigerian insurer Ensure Insurance Plc in a push for growth in Africa, where many people are uninsured.

Foreign insurers are banking on growing premiums as the continent develops its infrastructure and a consumer class demands protection from risk.

Allianz said in statement that it would acquire a 98 percent stake in Ensure Insurance from UK-based holding company Greenoaks Global Holdings. It did not disclose the acquisition value.

Ensure Insurance offers life and non-life insurance to businesses and retail clients. It generated 11 million euros ($13 million) in gross premiums written in 2016.

Allianz Group has operations in 17 African countries.

“The acquisition of Ensure Insurance Plc gives us full access to this key insurance market in Africa and marks a major milestone for Allianz’s long-term growth strategy on the continent,” said Coenraad Vrolijk, Allianz’s regional CEO Africa.

Allianz expects the acquisition to close later this year.

Allianz follows British insurer Prudential which last month bought a majority stake in Nigeria’s Zenith Life to gain access to the African country’s fast-growing insurance market.

South African insurer Liberty Holdings, which bought remaining shares it didn’t already own in Nigeria’s Total Health Trust in August 2015, said in February it would acquire a 75 percent stake in an unidentified Nigerian long-term insurer for 160 million rand ($12 million).

France’s AXA acquired Nigeria’s fourth-largest insurer Mansard Insurance three years ago. ($1 = 13.0245 rand) ($1 = 0.8370 euros) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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