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Sompo Japan acquires stake in French reinsurer SCOR

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Apr 2015

Insurance behemoth Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc announced last month that it will acquire a 7.8% stake in French reinsurer SCOR, the fifth largest reinsurer globally, with plans to bring its participation in the Paris-headquartered company to 15% in the future.
 
The Japanese insurer will acquire the 7.8% stake from Swiss investment firm Patinex A.G, SCOR’s largest shareholder. It plans to acquire a further 7.2% in the future from other shareholders. 
 
SCOR posted a net income of EUR512 million for the year 2014, after acquiring in 2013 Generali’s life insurance operations in the US. 
 
“Sompo Holdings has adopted a basic policy of overseas expansion which targets the retail or commercial insurance fields in specified geographic regions throughout the world, including a focus on stable profit contributions from the commercial insurance field in Europe and America; and it has made strategic investments in line with this policy,” the company said in a statement announcing the transaction.
 
Transaction is latest in a long series of expansion activities
The transaction is the latest in a long series by the Japanese insurer, which has built up its overseas operations in recent years, amid moderate growth prospects in its domestic market. 
 
In the period stretching from 2013 to 2014 alone, Sompo Japan had acquired Lloyds’ of London participant Canopius Group, opened a Zurich branch for its reinsurance business and a representative office in Johannesburg, and formed a business alliance in China with a domestic player with a view to entering the country’s automotive repair and maintenance markets.
 
Total net premiums written emanating from its overseas business jumped from JPY98.7 billion (US$838.4 million) in fiscal 2012 to JPY158.5 billion ($1.3 billion) in fiscal 2013 
(1 April to 31 March 2014).
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