Caixa Seguros expands in Africa while awaiting conclusion of acquisition by China’s Fosun

20 January 2014

Caixa Seguros, the Portuguese state-owned insurance group recently sold to Chinese group Fosun International, is continuing with its expansion in the insurance sector in Africa by moving into the Mozambican market.

Insurance company Fidelidade, one of the Caixa Seguros companies, was recently authorised by the Mozambican authorities to start operating and the company expects to open for business there in the first half of this year.

The insurance company, which is the largest in the Portuguese market and is already present in Angola, plans to open two subsidiaries – a life insurance company and another in the non-life sector.

Fosun International was selected by the Portuguese government to but 80 percent of Caixa Seguros, which is currently part of state financial group Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), for 1 billion euros.

According to the Portuguese government the Chinese group, which out-bid US company Apollo Management International, has strong ties to the insurance sector, as well as its expansion plan based on available funds of 1.5 billion euros in cash.

In Mozambique the starting point will be Maputo and the strategy involves, “expanding directly or indirectly to the rest of the country,” a spokesperson for Fidelidade told Portuguese financial daily Diário Económico.

The target market is both companies and individuals, including group customers that have interests in the Mozambican market.

The CGD group operates in Mozambique in partnership with BPI and Banco Comercial e de Investimentos (BCI) and in Angola the partnership is with Santander Totta and local investors.

The CGD group will keep around 20 percent of the insurance group following its privatisation and, for 25 years, will be the only bank with which Fidelidade can partner to sell insurance, according to the conditions of the privatisation.

Fidelidade started operating in Angola in the summer of 2011 with Universal Seguros and in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) with Garantia, which is the market leader, according to Fidelidade.

Sales of US$30 million had been projected for this year in the Angolan market and this is now expected to be exceeded, according to the group.

As well as Africa, Caixa Seguros has an important presence in Portuguese expatriate markets, such as Spain, France and Luxembourg as well as Macau.

The acquisition of the insurance group by Fosun is the latest in a string of Chinese investments in Portugal in the last few years, the most notable of which were China Three Gorges buying a stake in EDP – Energias de Portugal and China State Grid buying a stake in power grid Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN). (macauhub)