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British American buoyed to profitability

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Buoyed by a huge growth in investment income, British-American Group has announced a 959.2 percent rise to Sh2.87 billion for the year ended December 2010.

Group Managing Director Benson Wairegi said on Wednesday that the performance of the insurance and asset management provider was also driven by the growth of new businesses following the economic recovery that has been recorded after the 2008 post election violence.

"The group\’s gross profit rose to Sh2.87 billion in 2010, up from a loss of Sh334 million recorded in 2009.  This is a massive leap in profitability over the 2009 figures which were against a backdrop of uncertain economic conditions witnessed in 2008 and 2009," said Mr Wairegi.

The company\’s investments portfolio registered high returns in line with the good performance of the Nairobi Stock Exchange which has recovered from the impact of the 2008 post-election violence and global financial crisis.

Total Assets increased to Sh25 billion, up from Sh16 billion as assets under management for the (asset management) subsidiary rose by more than 100 percent to Ksh17.3 billion. Total assets managed by the Group grew from Sh25.0 billion in the corresponding period in 2009 to Sh43 billion.

Although claims went up significantly due to the increased payout to policyholders, the gross earned premium also rose on the back of new underwritten business.

"Our 2010 results are a significant improvement over 2009 on all key measures, with excellent growth in profitability, driven by a strong growth in investment income and a material uplift in new business growth. I\’m extremely proud of how hard everyone at British American has worked to achieve this result," he said.

The MD expressed satisfaction with the positive results especially as the company prepares to issue an Initial Public Offering and subsequently list on the Stock Exchange.

The IPO is expected to give British-American an opportunity to increase the scope of its operations and widen its footprint. 

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Having recently opened operations in Uganda, the company\’s strategic intent is to spread its wings to the rest of East Africa including Tanzania, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.

The board of directors has recommended a total dividend payout of Sh6.67 per share.

The company, which was set up in Kenya1965 also has the implementation of its \’One Company One Brand Strategy\’ in 2009 to thank for its success. Through it and with a heavy investment in ICT, they have managed to share the infrastructure and capabilities in the Group and also capture synergy across the business units.

"It is expected that these initiatives will make a difference to our customers by exceeding their expectations for financial protection and capital accumulation and making the future real and tangible for them," said Mr Wairegi.

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