Sul America SA (SULA3), the Brazilian insurer part-owned by ING Groep NV (INGA), has 800 million reais ($500 million) for acquisitions in the South American country to tap growing demand for insurance, two executives said.
“The company keeps a certain amount of cash to take advantage of opportunities that may arise,” Chief Financial Officer Arthur Farme d’Amoed Neto said in an interview in Sao Paulo today. “We want to grow through acquisitions.”
The fastest economic growth in more than two decades and rising salaries are helping boost demand for health insurance, car insurance, asset management and pension fund services in Brazil, said Patrick de Larragoiti Lucas, chairman of Rio de Janeiro-based Sul America. The health insurance industry, which accounts for about 65 percent of the company’s revenue, may grow 18 percent this year in Brazil, he said. Latin America’s largest economy expanded 7.5 percent last year, the quickest since 1986.
Sul America may buy companies, portfolios or sign commercial agreements to distribute its products in Brazil, said Amoed, who declined to name any targets or give further details on talks held by Sul America. The company isn’t close to signing any agreement, he said.
The insurer agreed in December to buy Dental Plan Ltda. to gain customers in the north and northeast regions of Brazil. Sul America also signed an accord to buy a stake in health insurer Brasilsaude from Banco do Brasil SA in May.
Sul America rose 1.3 percent to 19.83 reais in Sao Paulo trading. ING declined 4.4 percent to 8.593 euros in Amsterdam trading.
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