By Olzhas Auyezov
DUBAI Feb 23 French insurance giant AXA Group
and its partner in the United Arab Emirates, Kanoo
Group, plan to become major shareholders in the UAE's Green
Crescent Insurance Co (GCIC), GCIC said on Sunday.
The firm has called a shareholder meeting on March 26 "to
consider resolutions to expand the capital base of GCIC and
forge a long-term strategic alliance with AXA Group and its UAE
partner, the Kanoo Group", it said in a statement.
If the deal is approved, "AXA Group and Kanoo Group would be
the primary investors of a capital increase of 100 million
dirhams ($27 million) via a convertible bond instrument" that
would push GCIC's capital to 200 million dirhams on conversion.
The statement did not elaborate on the sizes of the stakes
that AXA and Kanoo would own in GCIC, or give details of the
nature of the alliance.
AXA said last week it was looking for more acquisitions in
emerging markets after it posted a 14 percent rise in full-year
net income and lifted its dividend 13 percent.
GCIC provides health and life insurance services in the UAE,
where the two largest emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have
mandatory health insurance regulations in place.
Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's
ruling family, is GCIC's chairman and has a 10 percent stake in
the company, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The firm reported a net loss of 4.65 million dirhams in 2013
and a 17.44 million dirham loss a year earlier. Revenue grew to
115.8 million dirhams from 89.8 million.
GCIC's share price has more than tripled since the end of
2012, outperforming an 87 percent rise in the Abu Dhabi stock
The UAE's population is estimated to be as large as roughly
8 million. While Abu Dhabi has had mandatory health insurance
since 2005, Dubai, with a population of over 2 million, is just
starting to implement its scheme and some analysts expect the
UAE's smaller northern emirates to follow suit, providing fresh
business opportunities for health insurers.
($1 = 3.673 UAE dirhams)
(Additional reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Andrew