Global insurer opens SA office

1 September 2008

Multinational insurance company Willis Group has announced the launch of its local mergers and acquisitions (M&A) practice, to serve the insurance brokerage and risk management needs of foreign as well as local corporate clients.

South Africa has recently become an attractive location for M&A investment, with assets under management by private equity firms increasing by 46% in the past year.

“Willis is now ideally positioned to become the leading South African M&A insurance broker by providing highly specialised knowledge and crucial support for South African corporate and private equity clients at this key time,” Willis South Africa CEO Ryck Genis said in a statement last week.

“The new structure will enable our international M&A practice to deliver their vast global expertise to local and international investors with the support of our South African team, which has in-depth knowledge of the local market.”

Growing demand for services

Willis’ decision to expand its international M&A practice to South Africa is a direct reflection of the growing demand the company sees for specialist advice on the assessment and insurance of the risks and exposures arising from M&A activity in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

The South African M&A practice will focus on the provision of buyer and vendor due diligence, transactional insurance products, portfolio company requirements and services arising from mergers, acquisitions, divestments, reconstruction and formal insolvencies.

Clients and prospects will include private equity firms, investment banks, strategic investors, professional firms and major corporations.

“South Africa has built a healthy mid-market private-equity platform as well as being home to many of Africa’s most acquisitive companies,” said Willis Group international M&A practice leader Alistair Lester, adding that the country’s economy remained strong despite the recent global credit turmoil.

“The South African team is an important addition to our global network of M&A capabilities, and reinforces our ongoing commitment to developing the M&A practice in high-growth markets.”

SAinfo reporter

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