In a transaction between MMI Holdings Limited (“MMI”) and Vunani Limited (“Vunani”) announced on Tuesday, 26 February 2019, Vunani has, together with the current Metropolitan Life Swaziland management, acquired the majority stake of 67% in MMI’s Eswatini insurance business, Metropolitan Life Swaziland (“MetLife Swaziland”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Momentum Insurance Swaziland Limited (“MIS”).
This transaction sees Vunani, a financial services group, expand into life, short term and health insurance in partnership with the highly experienced local management team. The proposed transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals.
MetLife Swaziland was formed in 2010 through a merger of short-term insurance and long-term insurance operations, which had each operated in Eswatini since 2008, and has evolved into one of the leading insurance provider in the region with assets in excess of E675 million. The remaining 33% of MetLife Swaziland will continue to be held by Eswatini Development and Savings Bank (“Eswatini Bank”), which originally invested in 2010.
Eswatini Bank, is the only 100 percent locally owned bank in the country. The bank which is both a developmental and commercial entity is fully owned by the Government of Eswatini.
Chief Executive Officer of MMI Africa, Dumo Mbethe said: “We are extremely proud of how MetLife Swaziland, guided by the experienced local management team, has grown into a market leader in the country over the past decade. We are confident that Vunani, together with the local management team and Eswatini Bank are the appropriate partners to ensure that this legacy continues well into the future.” The sale of MetLife Swaziland forms part of MMI’s strategic decision to exit certain markets, in line with the announcement made at their Year End Results in September 2017.
Ethan Dube, Vunani’s Chief Executive Officer, says MetLife Swaziland offers the financial services group an ideal springboard to further diversify their financial services activities, particularly in the insurance sector, supported by a strong local management team and in partnership with the country’s main bank, Eswatini Bank. “The insurance business of MetLife Swaziland, covering the entire insurance value chain from car insurance to retirement products, is an established leader in its niche markets in the region.” He adds that MetLife Swaziland ’s proven strong cash generation, and well-established recurring premium business, complement Vunani’s business model and will augment the group’s growth strategy.”
David Takis, Chief Executive Officer of MetLife Swaziland, says the transaction presents a great opportunity for the people driving the business to participate in the benefits of ownership. “We, as the management team, are committed to making the transaction a success and have in place a transition plan, agreed with MMI, to ensure a seamless transition for MetLife Swaziland and MIS clients.” MMI has committed to working with the consortium to facilitate the smooth transition of operations and to ensure that the best interests of all key stakeholders in Eswatini, including clients, business partners, staff, and regulators are well taken care of during the transition period.
The transition plan will now begin, which will include a rebranding exercise for both MetLife Swaziland and MIS, with the support of the three chief executive officers. Further announcements will follow in due course.