Full takeover of Skandia imminent

Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual said Thursday that it now owned 98.09 percent in Skandia, clearing the way for it to take full control of its Swedish peer.

Old Mutual said in an official statement to the London Stock Exchange that its 4.8-billion-euro bid was now closed, while a further update would be given on March 22.

The remaining shares would be obtained by a compulsory purchase procedure, under Swedish stock exchange rules, and this is expected to begin in June.

“I am delighted that we have reached our goal,” said Jim Sutcliffe, chief executive of Old Mutual.

“We have acquired a great company and are working with our new colleagues as we get ourselves in shape to take advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

There has been no doubt about the outcome of the hostile offer for weeks.

Last Monday Old Mutual said it had crossed the 90.0-percent threshold, which entitled the group to take full control of Skandia by forcibly converting remaining shareholdings.

Old Mutual originally lodged its hostile offer of 43.60 kronor per Skandia share in September last year, valuing Skandia at 44.9 billion kronor.

The deal will create one of the biggest insurance groups in Europe and is aimed also at reducing the Old Mutual’s dependence on the South African market.