Japan's Dai-ichi Life eyes Cambodia, U.S. in push for overseas growth


* Plans to start life insurance business in Cambodia in 2018
    * Eyeing U.S. acquisition opportunities through Protective
    * United States, Mekong region are priorities -Dai-ichi's

    By Taiga UranakaTOKYO, April 13 (Reuters) - Japan'sDai-ichi Life Holdings
Inc <8750.T> plans to start a life insurance business in
Cambodia in 2018 and expand its U.S. presence, its president
said, in line with the firm's strategy to boost overseas growth
as investment returns diminish at home.
    Life insurers in Japan have been hit by lower returns with
massive stimulus measures, aimed at spurring inflation, driving
down yields on Japanese government bonds. While several insurers
have effectively stopped buying JGBs, Dai-ichi - the country's
No.2 private-sector insurer - has turned to foreign markets over
the past few years to prop up its business.
    Dai-ichi, which currently has 50 trillion yen ($449 billion)
in assets, acquired a 40 percent stake in Indonesia's PT Panin
Life for about $248 million in 2013. It bought Protective Life
Corp of the United States for $5.6 billion in 2015.
    In the Mekong region, it runs life insurance businesses in
Thailand and Vietnam. It opened a representative office in
Cambodia in July last year and Myanmar last month.
    "We see the Mekong region as the next emerging market, where
we can utilise know-how acquired in Asia," Seiji Inagaki, who
became president of Dai-ichi this month, told Reuters.
    Dai-ichi will start the life insurance business in Cambodia
either on its own or through a joint venture, he added.
    Inagaki said the company was also looking for acquisition
opportunities in the United States - the world's largest life
insurance market - through Protective Life, targeting businesses
and insurance contracts from rivals.
    The insurer is not keenly looking for deals in Europe and
other regions, including Turkey, he said, contrary to what some
market sources were expecting.
    "Our priority is the United States and the Mekong region. So
the timing will be a little bit away" for Europe and other
regions, Inagaki said.
    Inagaki, 53, joined Dai-ichi in 1986. He was the head of the
team managing the company's initial public offering in 2010.
Dai-ichi is the only listed company among the country's four
biggest life insurers.
 ($1 = 111.3100 yen)

 (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
 ((taiga.uranaka@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1813; Reuters
Messaging:  taiga.uranaka.reuters.com@reuters.net))


This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Insurance , Politics
Referenced Symbols: 8750

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