Saturday, 06 June 2015 08:16

Liberty Holdings to tie up stalled Nigerian deals

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Liberty Holdingss Johannesburg officeLIBERTY Holdings, the insurer controlled by Africa’s biggest bank by assets, is seeking to conclude acquisitions of a Nigerian insurer and an asset manager by year end after elections delayed the deals.

While asking prices for Nigerian financial assets were high, the continent’s largest economy remained an attractive market, Liberty chief executive Thabo Dloti said on an unterview in Cape Town at the World Economic Forum on Africa.

“People who are selling assets by and large are private equity companies,” he said. “The high multiples reflect a completely under-penetrated insurance market. You don’t invest for three years, but on a 10-year view the multiples sound more reasonable.”

Liberty might also buy a short-term insurer in Botswana and start a similar business in Uganda, Dloti said. He didn’t name any of the potential targets in Nigeria or Botswana. The expansion plans might cost more than the R1 billion war chest Liberty had set aside for deals on the continent, he said. The insurer was also planning to raise money in debt and equity markets to add diversity to its capital base, he said. Shares gained 1.12 percent to close at R155.53 on the JSE yesterday.

– Bloomberg

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