The deal includes the French insurer’s businesses across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, and Oman


AXA to divest its insurance operations in the Gulf region to GIG. (Credit: AXA)

French insurance group AXA has agreed to divest its insurance operations in the Gulf region to Kuwait-based Gulf Insurance Group (GIG) for $269m in cash.

The deal includes the sale of the French insurer’s 50% stake in AXA Gulf, a stake of 34% in Saudi Arabia-based AXA Cooperative Insurance, and a stake of 28% in the UAE-based AXA Green Crescent Insurance.

AXA Gulf has operations across Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, and Qatar.

As part of the deal, Gulf conglomerate Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (YBA Kanoo) will also sell its 50% stake in AXA Gulf and a stake of 16% in AXA Cooperative Insurance to Gulf Insurance Group. This will take Gulf Insurance Group’s total consideration for the acquisitions at $474.75m.

Gulf Insurance Group is backed by Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) and Canada-based Fairfax Financial.

AXA CEO Thomas Buberl said: “This transaction marks another step in AXA’s continued simplification journey. We are convinced that AXA’s operations in the Gulf region will benefit from GIG’s leadership and scale in the region, to further pursue their focus on delivering growth and excellent customer service.”

AXA’s insurance businesses in the Gulf region have a total of more than 1,000 employees. The businesses are said to cater to more than one million customers via more than 30 branches and sales outlets.

According to the French insurer, the businesses distribute a variety of insurance products and services for corporate and individual customers, with focus mainly on health and property and casualty.

Gulf Insurance Group CEO Khaled Saoud Al Hasan said: “This acquisition marks yet another step in Gulf Insurance Group’s expansion journey. The regional experience of KIPCO and the international exposure of Fairfax make us well-positioned to take AXA’s Gulf operations to the next level.

“This transaction will bring us into new insurance markets in Oman and Qatar, and increase our operations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

“Once this transaction is complete, over 3.5 million clients in the Gulf region will have access to our client-centric services and our combined revenue will make us one of the largest insurance companies in the Middle East.”

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed by Q3 2021.