By Hossam Mouneir
Misr Insurance Holding Company intends to execute an ambitious plan to expand, in the next period, according to Basel El-Hini, the company’s Vice Chairman.
El-Hini said the company will do so by contributing to a number of projects in several different sectors.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, he explained that the company seeks to invest in three projects during the next period. It has been decided that the company will establish a financial leasing company, a reinsurance company, besides establishing another company for Takaful Insurance.
What is the volume of Misr Insurance Holding Company’s investments?
The company includes Misr Insurance, Misr Life Insurance, and Misr Real Estate Assets. The volume of the company’s investment portfolio exceeds EGP 30bn
How many companies does Misr Insurance have direct investments in?
They exceed 200 companies in the different economic activities, some of which are industry, commerce, services, and banks. Moreover, the company acquires a number of real estate assets, in addition to which it has direct investments in Misr Real Estate Development Company, Misr Asset Management, Misr Iran Development Bank, Egyptian Gulf Bank, and Société Arabe Internationale de Banque.
What is your plan for Misr Real Estate Assets affiliated to your company?
We have a promising plan for converting the company, whose assets are worth about EGP 7bn, from just selling units and collecting rents to be a real estate developer, and launching huge projects serving the national economy. The company already started establishing a number of malls, and residential complexes in some governorates. We target also establishing a huge project that is being prepared.
What are the company’s most prominent real estate projects?
The largest tourism, real estate and service project is Rod El-Farag’s land. The project is being established on the area of 4,000 metres. This land was supposed to be offered during the Economic Summit, held last March, but an issue prevented this from happening. The issue is now resolved and we are seeking senior real estate developers from the national as well as the international market. For example, in the Gulf markets, there are senior real estate developers. A study was conducted on another land in Qasr Al-Nil Street in Downtown Cairo. This land is expected to be a huge housing project.
How much is Misr Insurance Holding Company’s market share?
Misr Insurance Holding Company’s market share is approximately 50%. Misr Insurance Company’s market share alone reaches 50% to 55%, while Misr Life Insurance’s market share reaches 36%.
What are the most important projects the company aims to invest in during the next period?
We have three projects we aim to invest in during the next period. The first one is in the leasing sector. A leasing company will be established. The companies participating in this project are Misr Insurance Holding Company, Egyptian Gulf Bank, Faisal Capital and Archer Capital. We have finished the establishment procedures and we now seek a managing director and executive manager. The new company will be launched in the last quarter of the current year with a paid capital amounting to EGP 50m.The leasing activity in Egypt is very promising. We could expand the company’s activities from the Egyptian market to other nearby markets such as the Gulf markets. This company could also be a good starting point to strongly engage in mortgage finance.
The second project that the company plans to enter into is the establishment of a reinsurance company. A meeting was held between Misr Insurance Holding Company, the Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFE), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in order to discuss the establishment of the company.
There is a constituent body that includes about 17 insurance companies under the auspices of IFE in cooperation with the Investment Ministry and the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA). Global foundation of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has finished its study of the company, and it’s planned that its capital would range from $150m to $200m until a high credit rating is obtained. The ratio of our contributions to the company will not exceed 15%, as we do not seek dominating neither any company we have founded nor any activities we enter into. We hope that the company would be able to compete abroad and offer reinsurance services for companies abroad, and therefore, there must be a foreign partner.
Regarding the third project, the company is currently studying the founding of a symbiotic insurance company; it will most likely be a life insurance company. The company will be founded in cooperation with IFC and EBRD. It’s scheduled that the company begins with capital of EGP 60m. The help of a specialised company in symbiotic insurance from the Gulf or Southeast Asia with a wide experience in the field is expected. The completion of the study of this company will take place within two months, where founding procedures are expected to begin the beginning of next year.
What are other investment activities set by the company in its strategy?
The company has a great interest in microfinance, especially after the issuance of the microfinance law. We are aware of the importance of this activity in fighting against unemployment and improving citizen’s living standards, therefore, we aim to establish an independent company that offers this kind of financing. We are also working on introducing foreign partners especially from East Asia and Africa in order to benefit from their experiences in the field, however, this project will take time due to the length of the study phase and the search for partners.
What about real estate financing?
The market currently does not accommodate founding new real estate financing companies, and the initiative launched by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to support real estate financing leads to activating banks not companies. It also activates the demand on housing units for low and middle income; however the demand on distinctive housing units is very limited. As I have previously mentioned, it’s possible that real estate financing services will be offered through the financial leasing company planned to be established by our company.
What are other investments that the company intends to contribute in?
Misr Insurance Holding Company has investments in more than 200 companies in all different sectors. We have an ambitious plan to participate in other projects as long as an economic feasibility is available. The company is in continuous contact with holding companies in fields of tourism, chemicals and metal industries in order to negotiate on establishing potential projects in these fields. Technical consultations are taking place regarding these projects and their promotion. We also have a special interest in solar and renewable energy projects, and we are already considering projects in these sectors.