South Africa's Rand Merchant Investment (RMI) has agreed to acquire 29.9% stake in UK general insurer Hastings Group in a deal worth between £487.3m and £499.5m.

The deal sees RMI buy the shares from the company's principal shareholder Hastings Investco and several individual shareholders.

RMI has offered a price range 248-255p for each of the shares depending on their price on the closing dates.

According to Hastings, RMI’s investment will help in leveraging on the South African firm’s experience besides presenting scope for potential co-operation in the future.

The general insurance provider said that RMI through various strategic investments, which includes motor and home insurer OUTsurance, has gained significant exposure in the insurance industry.

Hastings CEO Gary Hoffman said: "RMI has a number of investments in insurance businesses in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Given this experience, Hastings will look to explore potential areas of cooperation with RMI and OUTsurance in the future that would accelerate execution of our existing strategy including in the areas of home, data analytics, mobile propositions and operational efficiencies."

The South African investment company will become the largest individual shareholder in Hastings if it goes on to buy the 29.9% of the issued ordinary share capital.

RMI CEO Herman Bossman has been nominated in the Hastings’ board of directors provided RMI holds a stake in the range of 15-29.9% in the company.

The transaction is likely to be completed on or before May 2, 2017.

It is expected to be completed in a maximum of three stages, with each of them linked to regulatory approvals from the South African Reserve Bank’s Financial Surveillance Department, UK Financial Conduct Authority and/or Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

RMI, which holds a majority 84% stake in OUTsurance, also has a 25% stake in Discovery Limited and a 25.5% stake in MMI Holdings, two South African based insurance firms.

Image source: Conquest House at Bexhill-on-Sea, Head Office of Hastings Insurance. Photo: courtesy of Bill Johnson and