• Kyodo, Bloomberg


Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. said Tuesday that it will buy Britain’s nonlife insurer Amlin PLC for around ¥635 billion, as it pursues global expansion in the face of a shrinking domestic market.

The deal will make Amlin a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, a unit of MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. It is expected to be complete by the end of March 2016, the Japanese insurer said.

Operating in the Lloyd’s reinsurance market, Amlin sells marine and aviation insurance as well as reinsurance, a type of insurance bought by insurance companies.

Among other Japanese insurance companies participating in the Lloyd’s market, Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. acquired British insurer Kiln Ltd. in 2008, and Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. bought Britain’s Canopius Group in 2014.

The nation’s insurance companies are on a buying spree as they try to make up for slowing domestic growth with the acquisitions of foreign rivals.

In June, Tokio Marine said it was buying HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. in the United States for around $7.5 billion.

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. said in July it would buy a U.S. insurer, StanCorp Financial Group Inc., for about $5 billion, and Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. announced in August a plan to acquire U.S. life insurer Symetra Financial Corp. for roughly $3.73 billion.

In another major deal, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. bought middle-ranking U.S. life insurer Protective Life Corp. for $5.55 billion in February.

Shares of MS&AD fell 2.6 percent at the close of trading in Tokyo before the announcement, paring this year’s gain to 24 percent. The benchmark Topix index has climbed just 0.7 percent in 2015. Amlin shares have climbed 3 percent this year in London trading.

Insurers across the globe had been targeted in about $81 billion of deals this year before Amlin, more than double the amount for the same period a year ago.

The U.K.’s Catlin Group Ltd. and Brit PLC each sought safety this year in a merger with a larger firm as an influx of reinsurance capital pushes prices lower and spreads into other lines of business.

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