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Japan insurer Mitsui Sumitomo to buy Britain's Amlin for US$5.3b

[TOKYO] Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI) said Tuesday it has agreed to buy Britain's Amlin, becoming the latest Japanese insurer to launch an overseas acquisition as it faces slowing growth at home.

The 3.47 billion pound (US$5.3 billion) all-cash deal was expected to be completed by the end of March 2016, the Japanese insurer said.

"The combination will accelerate MSI's strategy of growing its international business," Mitsui Sumitomo president Yasuyoshi Karasawa said in a statement.

Mitsui said the offer represented a 36 per cent premium on Amlin's 492.5 pence closing share price on September 7.

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Both firms operate a portfolio of non-life insurance businesses in the marine, aviation, property and liability sectors, while the British firm has a unit for reinsurance, a type of insurance bought by insurers.

The deal comes after Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance said in July it would buy US-based StanCorp Financial Group for US$5.0 billion, while insurer Tokio Marine Holdings agreed to buy US-based HCC Insurance Holdings for US$7.5 billion in June.

In February another major life insurance firm, Dai-ichi Life, completed the purchase of American Protective Life for US$5.55 billion.

Japanese insurance companies are on a buying spree as they pursue business outside their home market, where a shrinking population has weighed on growth.