Bahrain-based Arab Insurance Group (ARIG) plans to increase its share capital through a public offering of shares which will then be listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange, says National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), co-underwriter to the offering. NBK announced on 31 July that it has been appointed jointly with Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB) to act as adviser for the raising of the new share capital. The banks are now working on details of the flotation. ARIG originally announced plans to offer shares in January, saying that it hoped to complete the transaction in 1996. NBK and NCB are also examining the possibility of listing the stock on other regional bourses, but no decision has yet been taken.

ARIG currently has $150 million in paidup capital and $148 million in reserves. The two banks have agreed to underwrite the issue to the value of $200 million, but are optimistic that the transaction will actually raise more. ARIG also plans to transfer some of its reserves, bringing total paid-up capital after the offering to more than $400 million, NBK says.

The new capital will support ARIG’s current expansion and diversification strategy.

ARIG has recently acquired a 49 per cent stake in Egyptian insurance firm Allied Investors Company and has plans to expand into Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco. The company also says it plans to diversify its product range. ARIG profits soared in 1995 by 82 per cent to $36.6 million. Assets at the end of 1995 stood at $824 million. The group is currently owned by the UAE, Kuwait and Libya (MEED 10:5:96).