SUNU Assurance Group (a Franco-phone African Insurance Group) has acquired 60 per cent equity of Equity Assurance plc.
The Managing Director, Equity Assurance Plc, Ekpe Ukpabio, who disclosed to newsmen in Lagos, said we have just concluded a strategic investment with SUNU, a Franco-phone African Insurance Group for the acquisition.
This arrangement puts SUNU Assurance as the majority Shareholder of Equity Assurance plc with 60 per cent ownership while the existing shareholders have collapsed their ownership to 40 per cent. The paid up capital of Equity Assurance is now N7 billion clearly beyond the required N3 billion for a non-life general business insurance company in Nigeria.
According to him, “the new investment is in line with the vision of Equity Assurance , that is, to be a leading Africa insurance group. SUNU Assurance is present in 12 Franco-phone African countries while Equity Assurance is present in three Anglo-phone countries. This arrangement brings about market presence in 15 African countries and Equity Assurance now belongs to a major insurance conglomerate in the continent. We hope to leverage on this to maximise all the possible economies of scale including market competition for the overall benefit of our stakeholders”.
As a strategic step, he said, the existing management is intact. However, we have additional member in the board to represent SUNU’s interest while the brand remains the same.
According to him, in view of the fact that insurance business is capital driven the influx of equity investors will continue. However, we hope that local investors will try as much as possible not to allow a complete take-over by foreign investors.
This is very important because there is a bright prospect for insurance business in 2016 and beyond in spite of the fall in prices of oil. The federal budget indicates diversification to other areas of revenue generating ventures and this will improve economic activities in the country which will in turn bring about demand for insurance services. Also the ongoing war against corruption in our society generally will change the way businesses are transacted and there will be accountability, proper implementation of policies and execution of projects. These will have a positive impact in the insurance market.
On the way forward, the Equity boss said, “We plan to be innovative in service delivery, products development, cost management, customers experience and ensuring proper balance in all our dealings. We shall preserve and multiply value of our shareholders and ultimately maintain a consistent dividend payment policy. Source: Bloomberg