Capital FM (Nairobi)

3 August 2014

Kenya: CIC Rolls Out Regional Expansion Programme

NAIROBI, Kenya, Au 3 - CIC Insurance Group, the leading co-operative enterprise in Africa, has rolled out a major expansion programme in East and Central Africa ahead of its expected Bond Issue.

The Group will next week officially begin operations in South Sudan where it has already underwritten gross premiums worth Sh54 million, then Uganda in September and Malawi in October.

Addressing Sacco leaders in Nairobi, Group CEO, Nelson Kuria, said the insurer is expanding into the three countries through CIC Africa Limited, by seeking partnerships with local organizations in line with the co-operatives model that it is pursuing.

In South Sudan CIC has partnered with Co-operative Bank of South Sudan to establish CIC Africa South Sudan with a shareholding of 69 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

"The South Sudan subsidiary will begin operations this month after receiving the licensing from Central Equatorial government as we wait the national government to enact Insurance law," said Kuria.

The insurer is also seeking to invest in real estate in Central Equatorial State following an invitation by the local government to partner in the venture.

In Uganda the CIC Africa Limited will hold 51 percent shares in the new subsidiary, CIC Africa Uganda, in partnership with the Uganda Co-operatives and Savings and Credit Union Limited and Uganda Co-operative Alliance.

Uganda has over 14,000 co-operative societies which the insurer will leverage to penetrate the market and reach about 5 million co-operators.

"Leveraging the co-operatives network we will have a strong entry point which will enable us break even and outperform competitors by the second year," said Kuria.

"With oil discoveries and a natural resource base which includes agriculture and regular rainfall, Uganda is an economy that is going to explode very soon and this is the time to enter the market," he added.

In Malawi CIC Africa Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint venture with the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO).

Kuria said Sacco leaders have expressed interest in investing in the joint venture between CIC Africa Limited and MUSCCO.

"CIC is currently in the process of registration and licensing after completing market feasibility study and business plan for Malawi. The company will have a holding company and a life and general subsidiary in line with the Malawian law," he said.

The insurer has applied for approval for a Sh5 billion bond which will be issued in two tranches of Sh3 billion and Sh2 billion.

The money realized from the Bond Issue will be used for business expansion into the real estate sector and recapitalization of the subsidiaries.

Kuria expressed optimism that the Bond Issue will realized its target as the market has shown a lot of potential following similar ventures by competitors.

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