Amana Takaful opens shares for trading Feb 8

Amana Takaful has announced that its initial public offering (IPO) of 800,000 shares will open for trading on the February, along with a further 11,441,187 bonus shares.

The Sri Lanka-based sharia-compliant insurance company had previously announced an IPO of 800,000 shares in September last year.

General Manager of Amana Takaful, Hareez Sulaiman, said in a statement that the total number of shares issued were 20,241,987.

“The Maldives economy, no doubt, has huge potential for growth, but needs foreign and local investments,” Sulaiman said.

“An active stock market is what will attract this investment. Therefore, we expect not only our valued shareholders but also other individuals and corporates to actively take part in the stock market.”

The company had previously shared its hopes of generating Rf16 million (US$1.4 million) in proceeds through the IPO, by selling shares at a low issue price of Rf20 (bundled in packages of 25).


CMDA to license companies for Sharia-compliant securities

Capital Market Development Authority (CMDA) has opened applications to companies wishing to provide Sharia-compliant securities.

According to local media, CMDA will screen companies to ensure that their operations and transactions are made in alignment with Islamic Shariah.

Licenses will be awarded following consultation with the Capital Market Sharia Advisory Committee.

Sharia-compliant security services are most notable for their exclusion of interest. Currently, Amana Takaful is the only insurance company licensed to provide Shariah-compliant services to the Maldivian public.


Finance Ministry selects Allied to provide universal health insurance

The Finance Ministry has announced that the government will partner with Allied Insurance to provide all Maldivians with universal health insurance.

The Ministry said that three companies expressed interest in the public-private partnership, but only Allied completed the letter of expression.

“Sri Lanka Insurance and Amana Takaful didn’t complete the letter of expression. So we decided to award it to Allied,” Director General of the Ministry, Saami Ageel, was reported as saying.

Under the proposal, which the government intends to implement in January next year, Allied will own a 60 percent share in the scheme while the government with own the remaining 40 percent. The actual insurance premium will be paid by the government, while claims, billing and public awareness will be handled by the private partner.

The service will cover emergency treatment, including overseas if the treatment is not available locally, inpatient and outpatient services, domestic emergency evacuation, medicine under prescription, and diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Allied Insurance in July claimed to have launched the country’s first international health coverage policy allowing individuals, families and businesses to access hospital services anywhere in the world.

Provision of the services were said to have been made available through a collaboration with London-based international banking organisation Lloyd’s and the US-based Global Assurance Group.

While regional health policies for destinations like Singapore and Sri Lanka have been available for some time in the country, Allied claimed that its premium package now allowed for coverage everywhere in the world including the US and Canada.

Allied said at the time that although it has worked to provide coverage suitable for all types of income, the international coverage have been devised for higher income earners in the country.

Meanwhile, MPs this week proposed almost a hundred amendments to the National Health Insurance Bill, including a call for it to be made compulsory for locals and expatriates alike.

The bill currently requires workers to contribute 3.5 percent of their salaries to the scheme, however an amendment proposed by MP Yusuf Abdul Gafoor would require the government to pay insurance costs for everyone in the country, out of revenue derived from taxing tobacco products.

Haveeru reported that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed had proposed a 1.5 percent employee contribution, with three percent paid by the employer. Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Rozaina Adam proposed that workers pay only 0.5 percent.


Maldives director of Amana Takaful resigns weeks before IPO

Director of the Maldives branch of Amana Takaful, Hassan Ali Manik, has resigned his post scarely a week after the company announced the launch of a landmark IPO on the local stock exchange.

Manik’s resignation will take effect from the 21st of September. In a statement, Amana Takaful said Manik was tendered his resignation “citing business and personal commitments”.

The company did not announce a replacement.

Sharia-compliant insurance company Amana Takaful will issue 800,000 shares in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Maldives Stock Exchange (MSE).

In a first for the country, 20 percent of the shares will be made available to expatriates and 15 percent to overseas applicants. The remaining 65 percent will be offered to Maldivians.

The Sri Lanka-based company hopes to generate Rf16 million (US$1.4 million) in proceeds through the IPO, by selling shares at a low issue price of Rf20 (bundled in packages of 25).

CEO of Amana Takaful Maldives, Hareez Sulaiman, said the IPO would “change the way the Maldivian Stock Exchange operates as this will be the first time that Maldivians, expatriates and foreigners will be able to purchase securities in a Maldivian listed company.”

The decision to price the shares low “at a price affordable to any average Maldivian” also promised to “be a kick starter for an active stock market which may benefit the entire economy at large,” the company said in an accompanying statement.


Maldives re-insurance potential spied by Sri Lankan business

The Sri Lanka-based National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) has announced plans to move into the insurance markets of the Maldives and Bangladesh after posting Rs. 2.7billion (US$24million) in profit over the last six months, local news reports have said.

The NITF has said that it has held talks in the two countries over re-insuring national providers and was expecting to enter both markets soon, according to a report published today in the Sri Lanka-based Sunday Observer newspaper.

Senaka Abeygunasekera, Chairman of the NITF, told the paper that a “large” number of Sri Lankan companies were now funding re-insurance plans abroad, including markets like India and parts of Europe.


“Efficiency” at heart of business concerns for expatriate insurance plan: MNCCI

The Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) has called for greater efficiency in how the country’s labour and immigration officials deal with processing expatriate workers before imposing measures requiring employers to provide insurance packages for foreign staff upon arrival.

Immigration Controller Ilyas Hussein Ibrahim told Haveeru this week that although new applicants for work visas in the Maldives would now be required to have an insurance policy provided to them, a similar requirement for existing expatriate workers expected to come into place in March had been postponed.

Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor, Treasurer of the MNCCI, has said that although the business organisation does not hold any objections to insuring employees, it was hoping for more consistent and efficient processing of paper work for expatriate workers before implementing a system of mandatory insurance.

Notable issues of concern selected by the MNCCI’s Treasurer included difficulties in acquiring insurance for expatriate workers before they had arrived within the Maldives, the time frame afforded to industry to implement the changes and the actual relationships between the government and insurance providers over the new requirements.

“The current levels of bureaucracy involved with dealing with immigration and labour authorities for expatriates is very inefficient,” he said. “Under the insurance plans, there is no defining of expatriates coming here, so we are having to follow the same procedure for every single foreign worker at the moment.

Adheeb told Minivan News that there has been “concern”, particularly in “high turnover employment areas” such as construction, about the exact requirements for each type of employee bought into the country.

“High turnover [of staff] is a big problem, particularly in the case of small construction projects – of about three months,” he said. “It may be preferable to bring workers out for six months instead of the three required and whenever one expatriate returns home, we have to go through the same insurance process for each employee.

Adheeb claimed that protecting expatriates and keeping skilled workers within the Maldives was very important for business development.

“We have to accept that the Maldives does not have enough local labour force to meet the country’s requirements,” he said. “We need to keep hold of skilled expatriates.”

When asked whether measures such as insurance may bring greater accountability for businesses requiring expatriate labour, Adheeb claimed that a number of construction groups already had their own insurance plans in place and added that he was in favour of insurance programmes over all.

“We have some concerns over this move; for starters, we would like to see the current procedures in dealing with bureaucracy made more efficient,” he said. “I would like to see faster service, some companies are fast tracked [through the application process] but this is not the same for all businesses.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Emmigration was unable to respond to calls from Minivan News at the time of going to press.

However, Immigration Controller Ibrahim told Haveeru this week that policies for determining whether suitable insurance policies and enforcing the new insurance rules were in place had not been decided upon, but he was confident employers were getting to grips with the measures.

“Because of the announcement, many people have begun insuring. It is something that must be done in the future. But right now only the new foreign workers are required to insure,” he told the paper.