Kenyan authorities approve MMI's Cannon acquisition

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Metropolitan International, a Johannesburg listed insurance-based financial services group, managed to acquire a significant majority stake in Kenyan insurer, Cannon Assurance Limited after it announced earlier in the year of its intention to acquire the firm.

The acquisition of the majority stake in the Kenyan firm was initially announced in February 2014.

(READ MORE: S.Africa’s MMI to buy stake in Kenyan insurer)

“The Kenyan Competition Authority has approved the transaction without conditions,” read the statement by MMI Holdings, the parent company of Metropolitan International.

[DATA MIM:MMI Holdings] further added that it will be investing 27.4 million US dollars in the Kenyan unit. This it is part of its 45.7 million US dollar fund set aside for strategic investments in the continent.

In the deal, shareholders of Cannon will in turn acquire a minority stake in Metropolitan Life Kenya. Established in 1974, Cannon has a wide footprint in Kenya with offices in Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru and Thika, according to information on its website.

Over the last eight years, Metropolitan International has operated in Kenya as Metropolitan Life Kenya Ltd.

The approval of the acquisition comes only days after London Stock Exchange Listed firm Prudential PLC bought out Shield Insurance in Kenya.

(READ MORE: Prudential acquires Kenyan life insurer)

Currently, the penetration of the insurance industry in Kenya stands at below five per cent of the total population. This has largely been attributed to lack of awareness in the market and unfairly priced products.

The Association of Kenya Insurers has however been engaged in aggressive education campaigns as well as introducing products targeting mid and lower clusters of the market to reverse the trends.