August 11, 2016 / 4:31 PM / 3 years ago

Sun Life continues 'aggressive' hunt for acquisitions

The logo of Sun Life Financial is seen in Toronto May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) will continue to pursue acquisitions through the remainder of 2016, potentially expanding further in Asia, Chief Executive Dean Connor said on Thursday.

“I would expect us to continue to look for acquisition opportunities aggressively. We’re looking for opportunities that support growth in the businesses we’re in today,” Connor said in an interview.

The company has focused on a “four pillar strategy” incorporating its businesses in Canada, the United States, Asia and in asset management but said deals were less likely in its home market where there were fewer opportunities.

Sun Life has embarked on a flurry of takeovers in Asia in the past three years, hoping to take advantage of the region’s burgeoning middle class as they look to save and invest.

The company currently operates in seven Asian markets including China, Hong Kong, India and the Philippines.

“These are huge markets. The seven markets together comprise something like half the world’s population so job one is to get bigger in the markets we’re already in,” Connor said.

“If an opportunity arose in a Southeast Asian market there could be an eighth or ninth,” he said, adding that the company was unlikely to enter markets like Japan, Taiwan or South Korea which are already well-penetrated by competitors.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Phil Berlowitz

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