UPDATE 1-South Africa's Liberty to buy 75 pct stake in Nigerian insurer

Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:07am GMT

(Adds CEO comment, details)

JOHANNESBURG Feb 24 (Reuters) - South Africa's Liberty Holdings will acquire a 75 percent stake in a Nigerian long-term insurer for 160 million rand ($12 million), the company said on Friday, pursuing its strategy of expanding in the region.

Liberty has been expanding beyond its home base to parts of Africa, where demand is rising from a growing middle class.

Part of Liberty's strategy is to grow its presence in West Africa through the long-term insurance business and entering the asset management business.

"We see Nigeria as a market of the future," Liberty Chief Executive Thabo Dloti told Reuters.

"It may be having difficulties now, but everything indicates to us that in the long term, Nigeria is going to be a big contributor of growth if you are doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Further details of the deal were not disclosed.

Liberty, South Africa's fourth biggest insurance firm by market value, already has presence in Nigeria through Total Health Trust, after buying the remaining shares it didn't already own for 142 million rand in August 2015. ($1 = 12.8950 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Amrutha Gayathri)

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