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15/09/2005 - Embark On Dhs 950m Expansion In Wake Of DFM Listing

Dhs 60m profits forecast for 2005, rising to Dhs 90m in 2006

Dubai-based Islamic Arab Insurance Company, the world''s largest Islamic insurance company, will embark on a robust Dhs 950 million expansion after it becomes the 27th company listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on Saturday.

Details of the growth strategy were unveiled at an event held at the DFM, today, to mark the start of trading in the company''s shares. It brought together representatives from Islamic Arab Insurance Company, SHUAA Capital, DFM, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA) and prominent investors and brokers.

Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, Islamic Arab Insurance Company''s Chairman, said: "We are extremely pleased with the response we have seen so far to the public offering of our company''s shares, and we firmly believe that our shares constitute a solid investment opportunity.

"Future prospects for the company are very positive. In addition to investing strongly in new markets we have identified important sector specific growth opportunities and we fully expect to deliver profits in the region of Dhs 60 million this year, rising to Dhs 90 million 2006."

Islamic Arab Insurance Company, incorporated in 1979, raised its paid up capital to Dhs 1 billion in July through a public offering of 200 million shares, representing 20% of the total capital, which was oversubscribed by eight times. Lead Manager for the share offering was SHUAA Capital.

Khaled Sifri, Managing Director of SHUAA Capital''s Investment Banking Group, said: "It gives us great pleasure to bring to the market yet another strong investment opportunity. We are very proud to have been involved in this transaction and we have high hopes for the company''s future performance."

An established Islamic insurance and reinsurance company, Islamic Arab Insurance Company has six Takaful companies and provides services in 40 countries through BEST Re, the biggest Islamic reinsurance company in the world.

Islamic Arab Insurance Company provides Takaful and Re-Takaful solutions to customers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As part of its strategy for future growth, Islamic Arab Insurance Company will restructure its balance sheet by paying off Dhs 350m of debt, incurred as a result of recent expansion. It also intends to invest Dhs 165m in developing its insurance products base; increase the capital of BEST Re by Dhs 165m, to help improve its S and P''s BBB "Good" and A M Best''s B++ ''Very Good" ratings, and establish a Dhs 100m Re-Takaful company in Saudi Arabia and a Dhs 58m Takaful business in Malaysia.

Other plans include the Dhs 49m incorporation of the Islamic Arab Insurance Company, Saudi Arabia and investment of Dhs 32m in Egypt to set up a family Takaful company. A further Dhs 20m has been allotted to family Takaful in the UAE and Dhs 11m to incorporate, Sosar Life, a family Takaful provider in Senegal. "The company is well placed strategically to capitalise on opportunities in the Takaful and Re-Takaful industry in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific,"said Sheikh Khaled.

"The global Takaful market is expected to grow at between 15% and 20% per year, making it one of the fastest expanding financial industries in the world. Rapid population growth, insurance market reforms and increased demand for personal insurance cover are all helping to drive demand. For example, the introduction of compulsory health insurance for expatriates in the UAE and elsewhere in the GCC will provide considerable sources of revenue. "Another major business opportunity is life insurance. This sector is under developed in the Middle East and North Africa. We believe Takaful holds the key to unlocking this potential by providing life insurance through Family Takaful," added Sheikh Khaled.

Total worldwide Takaful premiums, covering both non-life and life insurance, are expected to reach Dhs 27.23 billion by 2015. Of this, nearly Dhs 7.36 billion in annual premiums is forecast to be written in GCC countries, Dhs 11.4 billion in Asia Pacific and an additional Dhs 9.57 billion in Europe, Turkey, China, India and the USA. Among Arab countries, Saudi Arabia is expected to generate close to Dhs 3.3 billion, followed by the UAE (Dhs 1.767 billion) and Egypt (Dhs 1.766 billion).

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