Actis and Ethos to sell stake in Alexander Forbes to Mercer Africa


safariProfessional services and insurance firm Mercer Africa is due to buy a 33 per cent stake in African pension-fund manager Alexander Forbes from buyout backers Actis and Ethos.

The news follows Alexander Forbes’ announcement that the company is due to float on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in July.

Mercer Africa, a subsidiary of New York-based Marsh & McLennan, has committed to buying 14.9 percent of Alex Forbes at the time of the IPO and a further 19.1 percent after regulatory approvals, according to a statement emailed to Bloomberg.

Actis and Ethos sold Guardrisk, the financial services part of Alexander Forbes, for ZAR1.6bn ($157m) in November last year. The latest deal will see them relinquish even more control of the company.

Alexander Forbes’ group chief executive Edward Kieswetter said, “We are progressing with a listing, which will enhance our profile, provide a realisation event for our existing shareholders and grant us access to the capital markets as well as help us attract and retain key staff.”

Kieswetter said that Mercer’s strategic investment in the group is a “resounding vote of confidence” in the company and in South Africa.

He said, “Mercer will provide additional benefits for our clients in Africa, while our employees will have access to the latest global skills and trends to help them serve our clients better throughout the world.”

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