British insurance giant Aviva has agreed to acquire Irish life assurance, pensions and investment firm Friends First from Dutch financial group Achmea for cash consideration of €130m (£116m).
Friends First has been operating in Ireland for more than 180 years with a focus on life protection, pension and investment products for individuals and companies. It serves over 250,000 customers and has a market share of 6%.
The acquisition will make Aviva as one of the largest composite insurers in Ireland. Its market share in life insurance market will increase to 15%, alongside its existing 15% market share in general insurance.
Aviva said that the acquisition is in line with its strategy to allocate capital in selected markets where it has scale or competitive advantage and where it can further expand its range of products across life and general insurance.
Commenting on the deal, Aviva CEO of international insurance Maurice Tulloch said: “Friends First is a natural fit for Aviva Ireland. The acquisition will enhance Aviva Ireland’s product offering and accelerate our international growth agenda. It makes sense financially, strategically and for our customers.
“Our Irish business has been among the best performers in the Aviva group over the last couple of years. This acquisition underlines Aviva’s disciplined approach to deploying capital into bolt-on acquisitions that meet our strict financial criteria and strengthen our businesses.”
Aviva Ireland CEO John Quinlan, said: “Friends First is an excellent business and will be a great addition to Aviva Ireland. Their expertise in the area of income protection and group risk, in particular, will complement and strengthen the broad range of insurance products we offer our customers.
“It will also make us the leading insurer for brokers in the Irish market. Together, our market leading insurance business will be well placed to take full advantage of Ireland’s fast growing economy.”
The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2018.