IFC Injects N1.79bn into Leadway Assurance


February 27, 2007/Thisday



The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group yesterday announced its planned commitment of N1.792 billion ($14 million) as an equity investment in Leadway Assurance Company Limited, a leading life and non-life insurance company in the country.


In a statement yesterday, IFC says it expects that the investment would help support the company’s institutional building program at a key stage in its strategic development.


The Corporation’s investment in the insurance firm is coming barely two days to the end of the recapitalisation exercise in the industry that commenced about 18 months ago. It also came just two days after Leadway was emerged the Insurance Company of the Year during the 12th Annual THISDAY Awards held in Lagos Saturday.


In injecting these funds, IFC noted that, “insurance companies have a particularly high impact for developing economies because they help manage risk and protect against unforeseen events. The build-up of related insurance funds also supports economic development, including job creation.”


Consequently, IFC says it believed that “providing sustainable, quality insurance in Nigeria will help develop a healthy and dynamic private sector and the country’s long-term capital markets.”


IFC’s Director for Sub-saharan Africa, Mr. Thierry Tanoh said, “IFC’s investment in Leadway is our first in a composite primary insurer in Nigeria, and it signifies our belief in the country’s insurance industry and ongoing reforms in the sector.”


He added that, “it is becoming increasingly important for Primary insurance companies in Nigeria to reach globally competitive levels, and we expect that our investment in a key player such as Leadway will be a catalyst for such growth.”


Also commenting, the Corporation’s Director for Global Financial Markets, Jyrki Koskelo said, “this project is in keeping with IFC’s mission of being a pioneer and proactively engaging in the development of financial markets in Sub-saharan Africa. This investment sends a strong message of support for operational best practice and corporate governance initiatives in the Nigerian financial sector.”


In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of Leadway, Mr. Oye Hassan-Odukale said, “IFC’s investment is strategic to Leadway’s future as a world-class insurer, as it presents a great opportunity to take a home-grown Nigerian company to the global arena.” 

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