Sompo Japan to Buy 15% Stake in French Reinsurer Scor

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc. bought 7.8 percent of French reinsurer Scor SE and is seeking to increase the stake to 15 percent in what could become its biggest investment abroad.

Sompo Japan bought the shares from Swiss fund Patinex AG and the purchase will have “no impact on the strategic development of Scor” or its management, the Paris-based reinsurer said in a statement on Friday. Sompo Japan said it will purchase stock from the market as it raises the stake to at least 15 percent.

While the statement didn’t give a price, 15 percent of Scor would be valued at about 860 million euros ($947 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on Thursday’s close. That would top Sompo Japan’s 594 million-pound ($904 million) purchase of U.K. insurer Canopius Group Ltd. last year.

Japan’s fourth-biggest publicly traded insurer is expanding in Europe and the Americas to help bolster earnings, it said. The stake in Scor may boost Sompo Japan’s annual net income by about 10 billion yen ($83 million), a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier, asking not to be identified before the announcement.

Scor climbed as much as 3.6 percent in Paris trading, the biggest increase in 13 months. The shares were up 2 percent at 30.39 euros at 11:05 a.m. Shares of Sompo Japan climbed 1.9 percent to close at 3,771 yen. The stock has jumped 24 percent this year, more than the Topix index’s 9.5 percent advance.

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