By Joe Bavier
JOHANNESBURG, July 8 (Reuters) – Angola is aiming to sell a majority stake in insurer ENSA by the end of November, its board chairman said on Thursday, in what would be among the biggest privatisations so far under the southern African country’s pandemic-delayed reforms.
Africa’s second-largest oil producer is aiming to privatise 172 state-owned enterprises, including non-core assets of national oil company Sonangol, between 2019 and 2022.
It is seeking bidders to take a 51% stake in ENSA via a private placement, Carlos Duarte told Reuters in an interview.
“Regionally there are a few very interesting groups, including in South Africa,” he said. “We’re targeting the type of insurance group that has a footprint across Africa.”
A deadline for non-binding bids is fixed for Aug. 10, but could be extended by a month, Duarte said. The government would then aim to close a deal in October or November.
In a second phase of its privatisation in two to five years, the government plans to dispose of its remaining 49% stake via a local initial public offering (IPO).
Angola’s insurance sector was liberalised in the early 2000s, and ENSA is the sector leader with a 37% market share.
It held total assets of 195.8 billion kwanza ($303 million) and gross written premiums of 85.6 billion kwanza in 2020, according to an investment teaser shared by the company. Net income, meanwhile, stood at 17.7 billion kwanza.
“It’s one of the biggest ones on the financial side,” Duarte said of the proposed sale. “The government has only one insurance company, so the privatisation of ENSA is quite important.”
Angola’s privatisation plans hit a rough patch amid the pandemic-induced global economic downturn last year.
It had privatised just 39 of the 126 state-owned enterprises scheduled for sale through the end of 2020, the government told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month, adding that it aimed to accelerate the process this year.
Privatisation of the biggest state companies, Sonangol, diamond miner Endiama and national airline TAAG, is scheduled to begin in 2022. ($1 = 647.1140 kwanzas) (Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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