ECP Buys Into African Insurance Co.

Emerging Capital Partners has acquired a “significant minority stake” in la Nouvelle Societe Interafricaine d’Assurance Participations SA, a Cote d’Ivoire-based insurance group in French-speaking Western and Central Africa. The deal is valued a $47.7 million.

 

PRESS RELEASE

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent, announced today it has purchased a significant minority stake in la Nouvelle Societe Interafricaine d’Assurance Participations SA (NSIA), the leading insurance group in French-speaking west and central Africa. ECP’s US $47.7 million (euro 35 million) investment – made through the purchase of common shares – is the firm’s largest investment in an African financial services firm to date. The capital will provide NSIA with resources for organic and external growth as well as the equity strengthening of the company’s banking affiliate, Banque Internationale d’Afrique Occidentale (BIAO).

 

NSIA is headquartered in Cote d’Ivoire and offers life and non-life insurance services. Along with BIAO, the group focuses on geographic expansion and development of the bancassurance concept, which is the selling of insurance products by banks. This allows NSIA and BIAO to offer a suite of banking, investment and insurance products to customers in west and central Africa, where average insurance penetration is less than 1%.

 

“African insurance companies are in a period of rapid growth due to economic liberalization and regulation that is becoming more standardized across regions,” said Hurley Doddy, chief operating officer of ECP. “NSIA is already a market leader, which means it should be in a prime position to capitalize on west and central Africa‘s tremendous growth potential.”

 

NSIA was founded in 1995 by current group chairman and 20-year insurance industry veteran Jean Kacou Diagou. The company has operations in eight countries: Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo. In 2006, NSIA acquired BIAO, the third largest bank in Cote d’Ivoire. Together, NSIA and BIAO employ more than 800 people in the region.

 

“ECP has found that African financial services firms continue to drive positive development and returns across the continent,” said Vincent le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. “We look forward to working with the company’s management team and exploring potential synergies with ECP’s other portfolio companies as we expand the business.”

 

The investment in NSIA is ECP’s ninth in the African financial services sector. The firm continues to hold stakes in seven other financial services companies throughout the continent: Financial Bank, Blue Financial Services, BACIM Bank, Continental Reinsurance plc, African Financial Holdings, Intercontinental Bank plc, and Generale Assurance Mediterraneenne.

 

ABOUT ECP

 

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is the first private equity firm to raise more than US$1.5 billion to invest in companies across the African continent. The ECP team has an eight-year track record of pan-African investing. The firm’s investment strategy is focused on delivering consistently above-market returns to investors that are uncorrelated to the U.S. and other global economies. For more information, please see www.ecpinvestments.com.