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Japan's Sompo to buy Britain's Canopius for 100 billion yen: report

TOKYO -- Major Japanese insurer Sompo Japan Insurance will acquire privately owned British firm Canopius for 100 billion yen (US$970 million) in a bid to expand its overseas business, a report said Sunday.

The two insurers will announce the agreement on the purchase in the coming week, the business daily Nikkei reported, without citing sources.

The Japanese non-life insurer will complete the purchase of all shares in Canopius from investment funds and the British firm's management by the end of next year, it said.

Sompo Japan also plans to keep Canopius's 560 managers and employees to absorb expertise for Western markets, it said.

Canopius, which operates in the Lloyd's of London insurance market, also has operations in Europe, the United States, Bermuda, Singapore and Australia.

The move comes as the domestic market for car insurance and casualty insurance is saturated while foreign insurers have been working on consolidation of their businesses after the 2008 U.S.-led global financial crisis, the report said.

Company officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sompo Japan Insurance and Nipponkoa Insurance established a joint holding company, NKSJ Holdings, in 2010, and the two will merge into one insurer in September.

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