Fairfax Financial Holdings, a Canada-based insurance and reinsurance group, has entered into an agreement to acquire 39.2% stake in Gulf Insurance Co (GIC), a subsidiary of The Kuwait Projects (Kipco), a diversified holding company.

Upon completion of the transaction, Kipco will remain the largest shareholder of GIC with approximately 43% and Fairfax will own approximately 41%.

Fairfax, which has operations in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia with revenues of $6.6bn in 2009 and invested assets of over $21bn at June 30, 2010, will bring its extensive experience in systems, product and market development and global investments to the venture.

Kipco vice chairman Faisal Al Ayyar said that this transaction benefits, and builds value for the company’s stakeholders, as Fairfax brings its international insurance and reinsurance expertise, management skills and global investment platform and technology infrastructure knowhow to GIC.

Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said that Kipco and GIC are both world-class organizations that share long-term core principles of integrity and professionalism.

GIC Chairman Farqad Al Sane said that the announcement represents a milestone in the development of GIC. With the combined and complementary support of two first class groups as shareholders both companies will be in a position to further enhance services and products to clients and improve the financial returns.

The transaction will take the form of a block sale through the Kuwait Stock Exchange and is expected to close shortly, subject to Kuwait Stock Exchange conditions.