Bulking Up

Standard Bank to lift insurance, asset management scale with Liberty buyout

By David Whitehouse

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Posted on July 15, 2021 11:31

Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala © Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala.  REUTERS/Luc Gnago
Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, has offered to buy out the remaining shares in Liberty Holdings to achieve greater scale in insurance and asset management.

The proposed deal will create “sustainable growth and value for shareholders,” Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala told a media briefing. Aligning the banking, insurance and asset management businesses of the two companies will create a whole which is “greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.

Standard Bank is taking the opportunity of Liberty’s low market valuation to try to extend its leading position in African financial services. Tshabalala sees a “massive opportunity” in insurance in the rest of Africa given low penetration rates of around 1%.

Giving Liberty’s insurance salesforce access to Standard Bank’s continent-wide banking presence will move beyond the companies’ existing “arm’s length” distribution agreement and lead to revenue growth, he said. “We want to enjoy the benefits of fully owning and fully integrating” Liberty’s insurance business.

The bank is offering 0.5 of its

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