Cigna invests $103M in international business

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Continuing its international expansion, Cigna on Thursday said it's spending $103 million for a 51 percent stake in a unit of Turkish lender Finansbank AS.

Under the deal, Cigna can sell life insurance and pension products through Finansbank's 500 retail branches throughout the country, the Hartford Courant reported.

"Turkey's demographic trends, impressive economic growth and the increasing need for affordable protection present a tremendous opportunity," said David Fike, chief marketing officer of Cigna International Health Life and Accident. Turkey has the fastest growing economy in Europe, expanding 8.5 percent last year, making it is an attractive place for companies to grow their business, Reuters reported.

"We are bullish about the prospects in terms of future growth," Jason Sadler, CEO at Cigna International Health, Life and Accident, told Bloomberg. "There's a limited range of products on the market at the moment and that's why we see such a great opportunity."

Cigna increasingly has been focusing on its international division, which was its fastest-growing unit last year, enhancing sales by 31 percent to $3.11 billion and reaching 30 countries outside the United States. "The move further strengthens our belief in the international segment being one of the primary long-term growth drivers for the company," said Ana Gupte, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst, adding that this new deal could account for a third of Cigna's profit by 2015.

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article
- see the Bloomberg article
- check out the Hartford Courant article

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