UAP Insurance plans to expand African footprint

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

UAP Insurance plans to expand its footprint to Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and possibly Gabon attracted by new found natural resources and steady economic growth.

“We are always analyzing these markets. We have got a criteria that we put in place in terms of how we look at them. We are looking at possible opportunities, possible targets. We just finished Tanzania last year. We want to enter at least one market every 18 months, so if we can enter more markets that is better for us,” James Wambugu, managing director of UAP Insurance told CNBC Africa.

The insurer is also scouting for acquisition targets as a mode of entry in those economies.

“It is sometimes not easy particularly in this region to find insurance companies willing to be acquired or they are also looking to acquire or possibly bring in capital without necessarily giving up control. We do not necessarily insist that we must have control,” Wambugu said.

UAP is one of the leading insurance and financial services companies in east Africa that has interests in insurance, real estate and investment services.

Earlier in the year, the financial services firm announced 27 per cent growth in pre-tax profit for the year ended December 31 to 2.21 billion Kenyan shillings driven by driven by growth in premiums, regional expansion and diversification into property.

The investment firm will next week launch a two billion Kenyan shillings corporate bond to be applied towards general corporate purposes.

“We are in the process of demerging our live business in Uganda so that it is a stand-alone company. It requires off course capitalization and we will be putting some capital there. The other younger subsidiaries also require continuous funding too. We are also going to be putting some of that money in our property business which is really looking up,” he said.

The firm is set to list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the second half of next year. UAP is also set to invest 4.3 billion Kenyan shillings in a real estate project in Kigali, Rwanda with the aim to build residential and commercial properties.