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02/09/2008 - A.M. Best affirms SALAMA's ratings of "A-" (Excellent); expects net profit of AED 180 million.

Group’s gross premium likely to spurt by 35% in 2008

Dubai, 2008: SALAMA-Islamic Arab Insurance Group, the world’s largest Takaful and Re-Takaful Group, today announced that the world’s top credit rating agency A.M. Best has affirmed the group’s Financial Strength Ratings to ‘A-’ (Excellent) and Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) to ‘a-’.

“The outlook for both ratings remains stable,” the agency said. “A.M. Best anticipates SALAMA to maintain a good operating performance, with annual post-tax profit in the range of US$ 40-50 million per annum over the next two years. The impressive ratings reflect SALAMA’s strong risk-adjusted capitalization, supported by good operating performance and growing business portfolio.”

The credit rating agency expects SALAMA to maintain a stable combined ratio of approximately 96% coupled with a strong investment income. The group’s gross premiums are expected to increase by around 35% in 2008 and 30% in 2009, the agency added.

In his comments on the ratings, Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Vice Chairman and CEO of SALAMA, said: “The ratings for SALAMA by A.M. Best further reinforces our growth strategy and will have a positive impact on our business in the changed investment milieu in the GCC. The FSR and ICR ratings are an endorsement of our strategic plans and will further boost our financial capabilities and creditworthiness.”

He added: “The affirmation of our ratings is a reflection of the strength and quality of our Takaful and Re-Takaful products and services as we look to further expand our presence across the GCC and beyond. It is also a major impetus to the UAE government’s transparent policies in market regulation and efforts to promote economic growth and stability.”

According to the agency, SALAMA’s current and prospective risk-adjusted capitalization remains at a strong level. In 2007, SALAMA utilized its risk-adjusted capitalization aggressively mainly due to changes in the investment strategy. A.M. Best believes that SALAMA’s risk-adjusted capitalization will stay at similar levels as in 2007 and is expected to maintain its strong position supported by a medium risk profile and full retained earnings.

SALAMA’s investment strategy is still conservative, the agency said, adding that the group and its subsidiaries have a solid business profile in their traditional territories -- Far East, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, which is further improving with geographical expansion, business growth and introduction of new life lines.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best is a global full-service credit rating organization dedicated to serving the financial and healthcare service industries, including insurance companies, banks, hospitals and healthcare system providers.
 

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