Lebanon Businessnews News

IFC invests in MedGulf
$124 million equity investment by World Bank private sector arm in regional insurance company
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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced that it has invested $124 million in the Lebanese-owned MedGulf (Mediterranean and Gulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company).

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said that the main reason behind its decision for the sizable investment is the low insurance coverage rates in many of the region’s countries. It said that the objective of the equity investment, which was approved last August, is to help MedGulf extend health and commercial risk insurance services into new MENA markets.

“IFC’s acquisition of up to a 15 percent equity stake in Medgulf, a leading regional insurer, will support the company as it looks to expand into Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey, where many people lack insurance coverage,” said a statement issued by IFC.

“The partnership with IFC will help MedGulf expand its operational capabilities to extend security to people who would otherwise have limited means of coping with calamities,” said MedGulf’s Chairman Lutfi Zein.

“IFC’s investment in MedGulf supports our strategy to help extend essential services to underserved parts of the population by encouraging cross-border investments in the region,” said Dimitiris Tsitsirgaros, IFC vice president.

According to IFC, the investment in MedGulf will also help institutionalize best practices in the insurance sector, and will boost IFC’s efforts to promote economic development through supporting private enterprise across the region.
Lutfi Zein is the founder of family-owned LFZ Holding, sole owner of MedGulf.

LFZ took over MedGulf last April in a $400 million deal in which it purchased 49 percent of the insurer’s stocks from Saudi Oger. The deal was facilitated by Bank Audi and Deutsche Bank, which arranged a multi-tranche acquisition financing package. It included a $175 million syndicated term loan facility which attracted funded commitments from 14 banks.
Date Posted: Feb 06, 2012
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