Prudential Buys Kenyan Insurer in Second Africa Purchase

Prudential Plc, the U.K.’s biggest insurer by market value, agreed to buy Kenyan life insurer Shield Assurance Co., its second acquisition in Africa.

Prudential plans to invest 1.5 billion Kenyan shillings ($16.9 million) in Shield Assurance over the next 12 months and create 4,000 jobs by 2020, the London-based company said in a statement today. The company said it also intends to open an East Africa unit in Nairobi.

Prudential Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam is looking to replicate the company’s development in Asia by expanding in Africa to help accelerate the insurer’s next stage of growth. The Ivory Coast-born French national bought Express Life Insurance Co. in Ghana for an undisclosed sum in December and has also cited Nigeria as a potential market.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone,” Prudential Africa CEO Matt Lilley said in the statement. Kenya’s “life insurance market is growing at 20 percent every year,” he said.

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