NU Online News Service, Sept. 22, 2004, 5:31 p.m. EDT

Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., has agreed to acquire control over Aoba Life Insurance Company Ltd., Tokyo, from a French investment company.[@@]

A Prudential unit in Japan, Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd., plans to pay Aoba Life’s current owner, Tawa S.A., the equivalent of about $180 million for Aoba Life, Prudential says.

Prudential hopes to complete the deal, which is subject to approval by the Financial Services Agency of Japan, by the end of the year.

Aoba Life is a company formed from the remains of Nissan Mutual Life Insurance Company, Tokyo, in 1997.

Nissan Mutual stunned Japanese life insurance customers by collapsing in April 1997. Up till that time, no Japanese life insurer had failed since shortly after the end of World War II. Tawa, the current owner, is an arm of Artemis S.A., Vincennes, France. It acquired Aoba Life in November 1999 and has been operating the company as a closed block. Revenue from new policy sales is negligible.

Aoba Life generates about $300 million in premium revenue per year on $7 billion in assets. Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd., Prudential’s Japanese subsidiary, has about $10 billion in assets, Prudential says.