Financial services provider Prudential has acquired a majority stake in Zenith Life of Nigeria and formed exclusive bancassurance partnerships with Zenith Bank in Nigeria and Ghana.

The acquisition and bancassurance partnerships will see Prudential enter the market in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, with a population of over 180 million.

Zenith Bank, which is Nigeria’s biggest bank by tier-1 capital, provides corporate, business and personal banking products through its network of over 350 branches, serving over 1.6 million customers.  Zenith Life, incorporated in 2001, has grown its gross written premium at a compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent over the last five years, making it one of the fastest-growing life insurance companies in Nigeria.

Prudential was founded in London in 1848 and enables families to protect themselves against life’s misfortunes and save for aspirations such as paying for school or university fees.  The company has Euro 599 billion of assets under management, 24 million insurance customers and has operations in the UK, the US, Africa and 14 markets in Asia.  Zenith Life will be rebranded as Zenith-Prudential Life Insurance.

Speaking during the acquisition, Matt Lilley, Chief Executive of Prudential Africa, said: “Prudential’s purpose is to take the worry out of life’s big financial concerns, helping our customers face the future with confidence.   Today’s announcement is an important milestone for Prudential and our growing portfolio of high-quality life insurance businesses in Africa. We are excited by the opportunity of partnering with Zenith Bank, one of the largest and most dynamic banks in Africa, and working with our new colleagues to build Zenith-Prudential into a leader in Nigeria’s growing life insurance industry.”

Jim Ovia, Founder of Zenith Bank and Zenith Life commended the acquisition saying it is set to redefine life insurance industry in Nigeria creating thousands of employment opportunities.