Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: UAP Sets Up Insurance Operation in Rwanda

UAP Group has set up new insurance operations in Kigali, Rwanda which is part of an aggressive pan-African expansion strategy.

Commenting on the new business venture, UAP Group Managing Director James Muguiyi said the move to expand will also see the group set up operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania markets before the year end.

"We are keen to replicate the success that UAP has enjoyed in Kenya over the years in the Rwanda market and other markets that we intend to venture in the region," he said.

"We are grateful to the Rwandese government for giving us the green-light to start operations in that country. We see a great opportunity for growth of the insurance and financial services sector as Rwanda moves towards achieving middle income status by the year 2020," he added.

Rwanda's insurance industry rose by 12.1 percent reaching Rwf143.7 billion (Sh19.5 billion) by the end of 2011 from Rwf128 billion (Sh17.3 billion) as of December 2010, according to monetary policy statement released by Central Bank of Rwanda.

To fund the expansion plans and strengthen its existing businesses, UAP Group has announced a Public Offer to raise Sh750 million, following approval by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

This is in addition to the Sh4.7 billion that was raised from private equity investors earlier in the year.

The new capital injection is expected to support UAP Group's regional and pan-African expansion strategy, strengthen the balance sheet of its existing businesses and invest equity to support the execution of its real estate strategy.

The funds will also help strengthen the group's balance sheet as it seeks to take advantage of strong investment opportunities present in selected markets in Africa.

The offer will open on November 14 and close on December 5, while the trading of newly issued shares on the Over the Counter (OTC) market is set to commence on January 9, 2013.

The group is also keen to diversify its businesses across key geographical markets and in its investment portfolio, and therefore deliver sustained and strong growth in earnings.

Currently, the group has a total of 10 operating companies in the region: Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, with a total premium income in excess of Sh7 billion and total assets in excess of Sh22 billion.

UAP Group also owns commercial properties in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan with total lettable space in excess of 1 million square feet.

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