Old Mutual increases stake in Skandia

Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual has said that investors representing more than 89.5 percent of shares in Swedish insurer Skandia had accepted its hostile takeover bid.

Old Mutual had originally targeted an acceptance level of 90 percent which would allow it to remove the listing of Skandia shares on the Stockholm stock exchange.

On Tuesday, the company nominated its finance director Julian Roberts to be chief executive of the Swedish insurance group.

Roberts will resign as group finance director of Old Mutual, and will replace current Skandia chief executive Hans-Erik Andersson, if the appointment is approved at Skandia’s extraordinary general meeting on February 21.

Roberts would quit also his non-executive directorships of Old Mutual’s

separately listed subsidiaries, but would continue as an executive director on its board, Old Mutual said in an official statement.

Old Mutual boss Jim Sutcliffe will take over as Skandia’s chairman.

What the new executives will mean for Skandia’s business is so far unclear. Old Mutual has made it clear that it wants to make economies of scale, and Sutcliffe has said that he wants to sell Skandiabanken, Skandia’s internet banking arm. He has also spoken in favour of moving IT and technology departments to South Africa, where costs are lower. There are also questions about the role for Skandia’s UK operations following the takeover.

The group announced on Tuesday that the deadline for its €4.8-billion

offer had been extended to March 14.

Last September, Old Mutual lodged a hostile offer of 43.60 kronor per Skandia share, valuing Skandia at 44.9 billion kronor.

The bid by Old Mutual, creates one of the biggest insurance groups in Europe, is aimed also at reducing the Old Mutual’s dependence on the South

African market.

AFP/The Local