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Zurich sells African insurer to rival

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Allianz S.E. has agreed to buy Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.’s Moroccan insurance business for €244 million ($347.9 million), Allianz announced Friday.

Casablanca, Morocco-based Zurich Assurances Maroc generated €114 million ($162.5 million) in gross premiums written last year and has more than 600,000 customers, Allianz said in its announcement. Allianz noted that the Moroccan insurer also has a license for life and health insurance products, which “Allianz plans to utilize”

“Allianz Group views Africa as one of the important future growth markets,” the Allianz statement said, adding that the Munich, Germany-based insurance group has operations in 15 African countries. “The acquisition in Morocco, Africa’s second-largest insurance market after South Africa, marks an important step for Allianz.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2016 pending regulatory approvals.