Green Crescent Insurance plans IPO to raise Dh250m

Green Crescent Insurance Company (GCIC) has announced plans for an initial public offering on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange to raise Dh250 million.

The Abu Dhabi-based health insurance firm was established two months ago and began operations in the capital last week. It intends to open offices in Dubai and other emirates soon. "Given the transformation taking place in the health insurance sector, the founders of GCIC have identified opportunities to penetrate the market by offering specialised health insurance products and services and superior service," said Chairman Dr Mohammed Saeed Al Badi.

CEO Carl Sardegna said the company's founders had subscribed for shares worth Dh112.5m – or 45 per cent of the offering. The remaining Dh137.5m of stock would be offered to the public at Dh1 per share plus an issuance fee of 2.5 fils per share.

"GCIC's IPO subscription offer period closes on June 23," Sardegna told Emirates Business. "The public subscription will be open to UAE nationals only.

"We are looking at expanding our business in other GCC countries. The company will offer local, regional and global policies and will target the top end of the market.

"We plan to develop customised and tailored products according to our clients' requirements and will introduce proven US and international health insurance best practices. We expect to launch our suite of products in the last quarter of 2008."

GCIC has entered into a contractual agreement with NYSE-listed Aetna Insurance Company, one of the largest health insurance companies in the world, which will provide access to its US network. Aetna will provide consulting services to GCIC.

"The region, particularly the UAE, has potential in this sector," said Sardegna. "By last year-end the UAE's health insurance market was worth Dh4.4bn. The insurance market is growing at more than 10 per cent annually," he said.

The IPO will be managed by Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment whose CEO, Yasser Geissah, said: "The health insurance sector in the UAE is expected to witness considerable growth in the near future, driven by more responsive regulatory amendments. We expect a strong demand for the company's shares, demonstrating investor appetite in the region for similar investment opportunities."