Islamic Finance

Saudi insurance firms Walaa, MetLife complete merger

Walaa Cooperative Insurance Company and MetLife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance Company have completed their merger.

In September last year Walaa signed a binding merger deal to acquire all stakes held by shareholders of MetLife through a share swap without any cash consideration.

Walaa said in a bourse filing on Tuesday (Mar 3) that the listing and deposit of new shares in the accounts of the eligible MetLife shareholders have been completed and that MetLife shares have been delisted from the Saudi stock exchange.

Walaa last year said it would increase its capital from 528 million riyals ($140.8 million) to 646,397,060 riyals by issuing new ordinary shares to all shareholders in MetLife AIG ANB. The ownership percentage of the shareholders in MetLife AIG ANB would be 18.32% of the share capital of Walaa after the capital increase, and the ownership percentage of the current shareholders in Walaa will be reduced from 100% to 81.68%.

Saudi Arabia’s insurance sector, the largest in the GCC, faces new enhanced capital requirements, which is a driving factor for consolidation among insurers.

Credit rating agency S&P said in July last year that while the Islamic insurance sector is “poised for consolidation, merger activity could also sweep through the sector at large”.

Most recently, Chubb Arabia announced it was exploring a merger with Al Ahli Takaful.

There are 33 insurance and reinsurance companies licensed to operate in Saudi Arabia, according to data from the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority.

($1 = 3.75 Saudi riyals)

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