Singlife acquired by Sumitomo Life

Transaction expected to be at SG$4.6 billion

Singlife acquired by Sumitomo Life

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

Singapore Life has disclosed a significant development in its ownership structure with Sumitomo Life, already a major shareholder, signing a definitive agreement to acquire the Singlife shares owned by TPG, an investor since 2020 with a 35% stake in the company. This makes Singlife a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Life

Sumitomo Life intends to extend an offer to purchase shares from all other remaining shareholders. If these offers are accepted, it will result in Sumitomo Life gaining full ownership of Singlife.

This transaction places Singlife’s valuation at SG$4.6 billion, marking it as one of the most substantial insurance deals in Southeast Asia. This follows Sumitomo Life’s acquisition of a stake from Aviva plc in Singlife, initially announced on September 13, 2023. The completion of these transactions is anticipated in the first quarter of 2024, pending regulatory approval in Japan and Singapore.

Sumitomo Life, which first invested in Singlife in 2019, views Singapore as a strategic location for its Southeast Asia operations. The company expects this acquisition to bolster the earnings of its international business portfolio. It has been stated that there will be no changes to Singlife’s operations, including its name, brand, management team, or customer services. Sumitomo Life also stated that it supports Singlife’s long-term growth plans in Singapore and the broader region.

Firm to be at the “centre of a strategic plan”

Ray Ferguson, Singlife’s chairman, commented on the development, highlighting Singlife’s evolution from a small insurtech startup to a significant player in Singapore’s insurance and financial services industry.

“We are very pleased that the shareholders have reached an agreement which will solidify Singlife’s ambitions in Southeast Asia,” Ferguson said. “As a subsidiary of Sumitomo Life, we will have access to capital, a nimble shareholding structure, and be at the centre of a strategic plan to provide financial planning solutions for consumers in Southeast Asia.”

Sumitomo Life’s president & CEO Yukinori Takada also remarked on the strategic nature of this long-term investment, aimed at facilitating Sumitomo Life’s growth in Southeast Asia.

“Singlife has been steadily expanding on the strength of its digital enabled business with a wide range of products and sales channels. We have had a very good relationship with the Singlife management team and want to support their growth,” Takada said.

Finally, Pearlyn Phau, Singlife Group CEO, also reassured partners, customers, and staff about the continuity of Singlife’s vision, mission, and values.

“We’ve had great conversations with Sumitomo Life over the past year. They are committed, long-term investors and they do not want to change the way we operate. They are fully behind our business strategies and plans.  We agree that we will continue to focus first on our customers, to continually build better solutions to help them and their families achieve financial freedom,” Phau said.

As of December 31, 2022, Singlife is ranked among the top six insurers in Singapore, with total assets amounting to SG$14.4 billion. The transaction with Abbey Life Holdings Ltd, a TPG Capital-owned entity, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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