Swiss Re scouting for more deals in Sub-Saharan Africa

11 October 2014, Nairobi – Zurich-based Swiss Re, which announced on Wednesday it has bought a stake in Kenya’s Apollo Investments, is looking for similar opportunities in primary insurers across sub-Saharan Africa.

The firm disclosed that “there are attractive prospects” in the region in a select insurance companies.

Swiss Re building, London“While our core business remains to be a leading reinsurance provider to the players in these markets, we also participate in opportunities in the geographical area through selected investments in primary companies,” Stefanie Weitz of Swiss Re’s media relations team said on email.

It did not give further details or timelines. The reinsurer acquired the 26.9 per cent Apollo stake from private equity fund LeapFrog Investments, which it had bought in 2011.

The initial purchase cost LeapFrog $14 million (Sh1.25 billion), but the three firms have declined to disclose how much the latest transaction was valued at, saying “it is confidential”. It is estimated that the PE fund made significant capital gains over the three years.

“As this was a private transaction, the price is not disclosed. This is purely a financial investment for us and we will not be involved in running the company,” Weitz said.

Apollo Investments said the new equity investor will advise on business strategy as the insurer seeks to grow operations.

“We expect to benefit from their support in organisational development, managerial capacity and in supporting the business strategy through their guidance,” Ashok shah, chief executive of Apollo Investments, said on phone.

When announcing the exit, LeapFrog partner Doug Lacey said the PE fund’s experience with Apollo and exit from Ghana’s Express Life showed investors with specialist skills and intimate knowledge of the market can add value to local businesses.

“Their [LeapFrog’s] experience and global reach have helped us penetrate new markets, most notably, offering services to the financially excluded,” Shah said.
*Mercy Gakii, The Star

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