The Business Year

AbdulAziz Al Balushi

OMAN - Economy

AbdulAziz Al Balushi

Group CEO, OMINVEST

Bio

AbdulAziz Mohammed Al Balushi is the Group CEO of Oman International Development and Investment Company SAOG (OMINVEST). With over 34 years of professional experience, AbdulAziz has extensive and in-depth knowledge of the global financial services industry. AbdulAziz holds a Master of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Strathclyde (UK) and is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Bankers (UK). AbdulAziz served at various Boards across the Sultanate and as an Advisory Board Member in the college of Agriculture and Marine Services at Sultan Qaboos University. Currently, AbdulAziz is Deputy Chairman of Jabreen International Development Company SAOC; and a Board member at Oman Arab Bank SAOG, National Finance Company SAOG and National Life and General Insurance SAOG. Additionally, he is a member of Oman American Business Centre, an organization formed to foster the development of commercial activity between the United States of America and the Sultanate of Oman. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Services, an organisation supporting professionalism in Financial Services.

TBY talks to AbdulAziz Al Balushi, Group CEO of OMINVEST, about regional expansion, the firm’s investment philosophy, and strategic direction.

Can you give us a summary on the announcement?

First, and on behalf of Oman International Development and Investment Company (OMINVEST) and National Life and General Insurance Company (NLGIC), I would like to express the Group’s sincere gratitude to the reputable regulators in Oman, KSA, the UAE and Bahrain for their exceptional support towards the completion of this transaction, and their understanding of the important positive potential it brings to the insurance landscape and market dynamics in the region. As for the details NLGIC – a flagship insurance subsidiary of OMINVEST – purchased 100% shareholding in Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) Middle East. The transaction was executed in two parts: (i) purchasing around 50% shareholding in RSA Middle East from Sun Alliance Insurance Overseas LTD (SAIO), a fully owned entity of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Limited; and (ii) exchanging the remaining shares of RSA Middle East, owned by reputable Saudi shareholders, with new issued NLGIC shares, thus making the Saudi shareholders collectively the second largest Shareholders in NLGIC after OMINVEST. We have obtained the required approvals from the respective regulators and NLGIC’s shareholders and accordingly, the transaction is now legally completed. It’s worth mentioning here that NLGIC has a strategic direction to expand its operations and products line in the GCC, hence we were looking for a strong insurance player with whom we can expand our presence and become the insurance company of choice in the region, and I believe RSA Middle East has been an excellent choice for that. 

What is the significance of this transaction and its impact on both companies?

We considered this transaction based on a deep understanding of RSA’s business legacy and capabilities, and on efficient utilization of NLGIC’s knowhow and financial position, to transform the combined entity into a larger, stronger, and more competitive regional insurance player emerging from the Sultanate of Oman. I’d like here to mention that NLGIC is the market leader and the largest insurance company in Oman with branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait and a strong presence in Health insurance in the UAE. And RSA Middle East is a leading provider of property and casualty insurance in the Middle East, operating in Oman, KSA, Bahrain, and the UAE. It offers solutions for both commercial and retail clients, across a range of product lines, including motor, property, medical, SMEs as well as tailored solutions for large corporates. We strongly believe this transaction is bound for tremendous fruitful success. As part of NLGIC’s growth strategy, this will help the combined entity reach new markets and seek top-line growth opportunities, while expanding customer reach in the region. It will also create value for all stakeholders and bring together potential synergies between both companies in terms of resources and top-notch technologies and innovations to provide a wider range of insurance products and services to both individual and corporate customers and fuel business growth. Albeit NLGIC and RSA have enjoyed market leadership and have showcased very strong performance in the past years, together they will prove to be even stronger, not only in matter of offerings to the market but also from a solvency and regulatory point of view. This will create a well-diversified powerful insurance player in the region operating in Oman, KSA, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Also, and on a macro-economic level, this also brings foreign direct investment to Oman-based NLGIC, which aligns with our national economic development objectives.

Tell us a bit about OMINVEST’s investment philosophy and how it links to this transaction?

OMINVEST’s investment philosophy has always been to support and enable our portfolio companies to thrive and grow. Our group has a strong track record of building businesses in the insurance sector and our largest insurance subsidiary, NLGIC, has remarkably grown locally and regionally over the years. Its success is attributable to the significant capital injection from OMINVEST, prudent oversight by its Board, and smart business strategies implemented by the management.  Aligning with our philosophy, we endeavour to work closely with our companies’ boards and management teams to identify, screen, and capitalize on growth opportunities, which is what we’ve done for this transaction. We provide strategic direction and help our companies draw ultimate roadmaps that would create value for all stakeholders. We look forward to a brighter and stronger future for our insurance business, having much bigger impact across the region. 

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