South African Insurer, LIBERTY which is active in South Africa and 14 other African countries covets a solid presence in Nigeria and Ghana. It is working hard to conclude acquisitions in Nigeria and Ghana by the end of the year, confident that it could make a purchase of about R1bn without recourse to debt funding.
At the recent company’s full-year results presentation, Liberty Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bruce Hemphill said: “What the board has basically approved is to enter West Africa and we should do it in a meaningful (way) …A billion rand we can probably do … and if it’s a R2bn deal, it’s probably getting to the limit and if it’s more than that we definitely have to raise debt.”
Mukesh Mittal, the head of the business development cluster at Liberty, said the plan was to acquire quality asset management and insurance businesses in Nigeria and Ghana. The plan in West Africa was to replicate the offering that Liberty had in South Africa, but include short-term insurance, a solution the insurer did not offer in South Africa.
Registered in 1957 as Liberty Life, the South African insurer has grown in leaps and bounds. Liberty Holdings Ltd is an African wealth management group based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Liberty has interests in life and health insurance, asset management and property development, with business operations in six other countries across Southern, East and West Africa.
The group’s principal operating business, Liberty Life, is the third largest life insurer in South Africa, while 100% subsidiary STANLIB is the second largest investment manager in South Africa, and is also South Africa’s largest unit trust (mutual fund) company. Liberty Holdings is 53% owned by the Standard Bank Group, the largest African bank by total assets.