Saudi Arabia to Sell NCCI Ins. Co. Shares to Public

May 21, 2004

As part of its ongoing economic reforms the government of Saudi Arabia announced plans to sell shares in one of the Arab world’s largest insurance companies, the National Company for Cooperative Insurance (NCCI).

The move forms part of a plan that also includes the sale of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company “Ma’aden,” which is wholly owned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. “Both decisions came during a meeting of the Supreme Economic Council (SEC), chaired by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, and are part of a broader privatization program directed at helping to modernize and expand the Saudi economy,” said a bulletin issued by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan stated: “We are continuing to develop and diversify our economic base. Substantial private and foreign investments are crucial to a healthy and stable economy.”

The announcement noted that “The sale of government shares in NCCI will help open up the Kingdom’s insurance market, which is estimated at more than $2.5 billion. NCCI has assets of about half a billion dollars and is the only insurance company officially licensed in Saudi Arabia.”

It also pointed out that “new insurance legislation, passed on July 14, 2003 and introduced as part of Saudi Arabia’s sweeping economic reform program, has cleared a path for potential competition.”

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