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Insurance Australia eyes Indonesian acquisitions worth $100 million


SYDNEY (Reuters)—Insurance Australia Group plans acquisitions worth around $100 million Australian ($102.1 million) in Indonesia, one of its target markets, to double gross written premium contribution from Asia to 10% by 2016, its Asia head said.

IAG, Australia's top car and home insurer, has businesses in Thailand, Malaysia, India, China and Vietnam. It is scouting for acquisitions or joint ventures to enter Indonesia to tap rapid growth in Asia.

"While we have said that $250 million Australian ($255.3 million) is close to the upper limit we would normally spend on any bolt-on Asian acquisitions, we would expect that anything in Indonesia would be less than that—perhaps around the $100 million (Australian) mark," said Justin Breheny, Asia chief executive.

Indonesia's general insurance market is fragmented and thus deals can be smaller. Last month ACE Ltd. announced a deal to buy PT Asuransi Jaya Proteksi, one of Indonesia's top 10 general insurers, for $130 million.

IAG already has invested $720 million Australian ($735.2 million) in Asia representing about 15% of the group's net asset base and expects the investment to ring in premiums and achieve a return on equity of 15% before development costs by 2017.

"We have a responsibility to the next generation of management and shareholders. We have to put in place the blocks for profit and revenue growth and the answer is Asia," said Mr. Breheny, who has spent 20 years in Asia including 14 with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

IAG in a presentation to shareholders said nonlife gross written premium in emerging Asia would more than double to $424 billion by 2020.

Breheny said he would not hurry with an acquisition in Indonesia citing a measured M&A approach that has seen the firm finalize just five deals out 80 examined during the past few years.

IAG reported a 9.7% growth in gross written premium to $4.3 billion Australian ($4.39 billion) for the six months to December with more than 80% of that coming from Australia and New Zealand.

It wants its joint ventures in India and China to break even by 2015 and bring in gross written premiums of close to $2 billion ($2.04 billion) by 2017 as part of its push to diversify revenues.