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Japan insurer said to be eyeing Amlin

Charles Philipps: Amlin is not for sale

LONDON (Bloomberg) — Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co is in talks to buy Lloyd’s of London insurer Amlin Plc in a deal that could be announced as soon as today, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The acquisition could cost the Japanese firm more than 500 billion yen ($4.2 billion) and would be funded by existing cash and bank loans, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier, without saying where it got the information. A spokesman for Amlin declined to comment, and phone calls to Mitsui’s London unit went unanswered outside office hours.

An agreement would add to a flurry of deals among Amlin’s peers in the Lloyd’s and Bermuda insurance markets, while extending an overseas shopping spree by insurers based in Asia, where growth has slowed. Catlin Group and Brit Plc sought safety this year in a merger with a larger firm as an influx of reinsurance capital pushes prices lower and spreads into other lines of business. Japan’s Sumitomo Life Insurance Co and Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co agreed to buy US firms in the past two months.

So far in 2015, insurers across the globe have been targeted in about $81 billion of deals, more than double the amount for the same period a year ago.

Amlin provides reinsurance to firms around the world, and has businesses focused on property and casualty coverage and policies for the marine and aviation industries. Beyond Britain, it has offices in Continental Europe, Bermuda, the US and parts of the Middle East and Asia, according to its website.

Chief executive officer Charles Philipps said two weeks ago that the company wasn’t for sale after reporting lower first-half profit and further declines in reinsurance prices.

Amlin’s management is expected to remain with the firm, Nikkei said.