AM Best has placed under review with developing implications the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “a” of Gulf Insurance Group K.S.C.P. (GIG) (Kuwait) and its subsidiary, Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Company K.S.C. (Closed) (Kuwait).

The Credit Rating (rating) actions follow the announcement on 30 November 2020, that GIG has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 100% of AXA Insurance (Gulf) B.S.C. (c) (Bahrain), 50% of AXA Cooperative Insurance Company (Saudi Arabia) and 28% of AXA Green Crescent Insurance Company PJSC (United Arab Emirates) for consideration of USD 475 million. A capital injection will be provided to GIG, by its existing shareholders, to help fund the acquisition. The balance is expected to be funded through bank debt, and the earnings of the target companies following year-end 2020.

The under review with developing implications status reflects AM Best’s uncertainty over the group’s post-acquisition risk-adjusted capitalisation, leverage and liquidity. The acquisition is expected to add gross written premium (GWP) of approximately USD 1 billion to the GIG group (GWP of USD 1.3 billion in 2019), give it access to the insurance markets of Oman, Qatar and the UAE, and strengthen its competitive position in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The ratings will remain under review until the group’s post-acquisition metrics for risk-adjusted capitalisation, leverage and liquidity are clear.