Nippon Life Seeks More M&A From Banks Selling Insurance Assets

  • Insurer looks for acquisition opportunities outside of Japan
  • President says firm will further expand in asset management

Nippon Life Insurance Co., the Japanese insurer that agreed to buy assets from National Australia Bank Ltd. last year, expects more opportunities to acquire companies from global lenders that are reducing their exposure to insurance to meet stricter capital requirements.

“The tightening of regulations is going ahead as financial institutions move away from the insurance business,” Yoshinobu Tsutsui, president of Japan’s biggest life insurer, said in an interview Wednesday. “We’ve seen several instances of such moves and I expect this trend to continue in some markets.”

Nippon Life is looking for M&A opportunities in Asia, North America, Europe and Oceania as part of its plan to boost profit generated from global acquisitions to 100 billion yen ($847 million) by March 2025 from 9.9 billion yen in the year ended March 2015, Tsutsui said. The insurer agreed in October to buy 80 percent of National Australia’s life insurance unit for A$2.4 billion ($1.7 billion) as the bank looked to exit underperforming units.

Nippon Life is also looking for asset management firms to purchase as part of its plan to expand its global platform in the industry, said Tsutsui. It has invested in Reliance Capital Asset Management Ltd. in India, and Post Advisory Group LLC and PanAgora Asset Management Inc., both in the U.S.

Osaka-based Nippon Life, which is not publicly traded, agreed in September to merge with Mitsui Life Insurance Co., positioning itself as the country’s biggest earner of insurance premium income ahead of Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co.

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