Tokio Marine Seeks U.S., Europe Acquisitions

By | July 1, 2008

Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. Japan’s largest non-life insurer, is looking at opportunities to acquire U.S. and European competitors as part of its overseas growth strategy, Chief Executive Shuzo Sumi said on Tuesday.

“We have been focusing on emerging markets but to be a real global player, we need to build significant positions in the U.S. and Europe where the markets are big,” Sumi told the Reuters Japan Investment Summit.

Tokio Marine completed the purchase of Lloyd’s of London insurer Kiln Ltd. for £442 million ($881 million) in March, marking the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese insurer [See IJ web site –].

Japan accounts for more than 80 percent of Tokio Marine’s profits, but the insurer is trying to expand abroad to escape slow growth at home due to an aging and shrinking population.

After the Kiln acquisition, investment banks presented two to three possible overseas deals to Tokio Marine, Sumi said. “Some of them are not good but some of them got our attention,” he said.

Tokio Marine, whose official name was Millea Holdings Inc. until Monday, wants profit from its overseas operation to account for as much as 25 percent of overall profit in the year starting in April 2015, compared with 6 percent in the year started April 2005, Sumi said.

Japanese insurers face a tough environment in Japan given the country’s shrinking population and slow growth in the economy. Tokio Marine is not considering buying companies in Japan, said Sumi.

Tokio Marine shares were closed at 4,120 yen in the morning, down 0.48 percent from Monday.

(Additional reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Sophie Hardach)

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