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Mon 18 Oct 2010 03:34 PM

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Saudi insurance M&A awaiting cenbank nod

\nSaudi insurance market is ripe for mergers and acquisitions - Tawuniya exec

Saudi insurance M&A awaiting cenbank nod
RIPE MARKET: Saudi insurance market is ripe for mergers and acquisitions, according to Tawiniyas CEO.

The Saudi insurance market is ripe for mergers and acquisitions but these await a nod from the central bank, the chief executive of the kingdom's biggest insurance firm Tawuniya said.

"Consolidation is bound to happen, if it does not happen this year, it will happen next year or the year after. The catalyst would be for the regulator to intervene and suggest that some firms merge or for some firms to seek the regulator's approval to merge," Ali Al-Subaihin told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Riyadh.

"The sector is ripe for consolidation ... It does not look like the regulator will licence more insurance firms. For us, we will consider any viable opportunity, the only problem is that we have yet to find the right opportunity," he added.

He also said that Tawuniya does not plan to tap the debt market after Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on the firm to stable from negative earlier this week.

S&P also affirmed the 'A' long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on Tawuniya.

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