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Prudential sees Ghana acquisition profitable by fourth year

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(Bloomberg) — Prudential Plc, the U.K.’s biggest insurer, said the Ghanaian life insurancebusiness it acquired in December may become profitable after four years.

Express Life Insurance Co., the Accra-based insurer bought for an undisclosed sum, has premiums of 4 million cedis ($1.4 million), or 1 percent of Ghana’s life insurance market, said Matt Lilley, Prudential’s director of strategy and investor relations. The U.K. company injected $5 million into the business this month.

“We’re willing to invest year-after-year-after-year to grow the business,” Lilley said in an April 24 interview in Accra. “Ghana’s very young population has got a low penetration of insurance, which means that as the middle class continues to grow Ghana’s needs for insurance for savings will grow.”

Prudential is eyeing markets in Africa, including Nigeria and Kenya, to capitalize on rapid economic growth and a rising middle class. Ghana, marking the company’s entry into the continent’s life-insurance market, is projecting economic growth of 8 percent this year.

Prudential plans to invest premiums in the local economy, mainly in infrastructure projects, Lilley said. The company will take advantage of the Ghana Infrastructure Fund when it becomes operational, he said.

The company’s shares lost 0.9 percent to 1,330 pence in London trading.

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