Muscat: Oman Qatar Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Group, plans to float an initial public offering (IPO) on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) by the end of 2017, said a top-level official of the company.
The company’s plan is in line with the regulatory requirement for national insurance companies to go public within a certain period. In 2014, the insurance regulator, Capital Market Authority has asked national insurance firms to go public within three years (in line with an amendment in the Insurance Companies Law). Also, Oman Qatar Insurance has to raise its paid up capital to OMR10 million from OMR5 million now, in line with the CMA stipulation on minimum capital.
The company plans to offer 40 per cent of its paid up capital to the investing public through the issue.
“We will float the IPO by the end of next year. We have a roadmap that is going to the board at its next meeting. An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) will be convened to finalise all of these plans,” said Ewen J. McRobbie, chief executive officer of Oman Qatar Insurance Company told the ‘Times of Oman’.
It takes a lot of time for appointing bankers, preparing prospectus, etc. “We have to capitalise the company as well.”
Apart from Oman Qatar Insurance, the national insurance firms that are expected to float shares on the local bourse are Falcon Insurance, Al Ahlia Insurance Company, Muscat Insurance, Muscat Life Insurance, and National Life Insurance and Vision Insurance. Further, the Sultanate’s only reinsurance firm — Oman Reinsurance Company — will issue shares to the investing public.
Although the Sultanate has 22 insurance companies (11 locally incorporated and 11 branch operations of foreign firms), only four companies — Dhofar Insurance, Oman United Insurance, Al Madina Takaful and Takaful Oman — are listed. Of this, Al Madina Takaful and Takaful Oman are Islamic insurance firms.
Asked about the impact of recent slowdown in economic activities in the aftermath of a slump in oil prices, McRobbie said; “When the market contracts, all companies will be looking to tighten their belts to save money.” “There will be a direct impact. We tend to invest in new businesses, new ventures as we have been doing rapidly since 2008.”
The fall in insurance demand will be mostly from commercial sector, including energy, construction and property segments. “The large construction projects are either postponed or put on hold. So the need for insurance is simply not there. (However) we are still growing rapidly in all countries on personal lines. There is still a small growth in number of vehicle and people coming in to the countries,” added Frederik Bisbjerg, executive vice president – head of group retail – at Oman Qatar Insurance Company.