Metropolitan International (MI), a division of the JSE-listed life insurer, MMI Holdings, has bought an undisclosed shareholding in the Kenyan insurer, Cannon Assurance for R300 million ($27.3 million), it said on Monday.

The funding for the acquisition will come from the R500 million ($45.5 million) MMI has reserved for African acquisitions as the company considers Africa to be a critical growth area for the firm, Nicolaas Kruger, the group CEO at MMI, said.

Kruger said the acquisition of Cannon will quicken the company’s African expansion strategy and bolster its presence in East Africa.

The company has identified East Africa as an important region for growth. East Africa houses about 235 million people. The deal will allow the merger of two firms into one and a standalone short-term insurance licence and business.

MMI has operations in 12 African countries outside South Africa including in Kenya through Metropolitan Life Kenya.

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