Oman watchdog takes control of mismanaged insurance company
Oman's regulating authority has dissolved the board of Oman National Investment Corporation (ONIC) Holding following the misappropriation of millions of dollars and taken control of the company's affairs.
Capital Market Authority, the sultanate's capital market watchdog, informed the management that a panel of professionals will run the insurance holding company that has accumulated losses of $105 million, Chairman Salim Bin Hassan Macki told shareholders late Tuesday, September 4.
"The panel was formed to turn around the holding company till a period when it achieves stability. It will have more powers than the board", Macki told the annual general meeting. He said that more than $30 million would be recovered from a former chairman and ex-minister.
Mohammad Al-Yussuf was jailed for five years last year along with several top officials for misappropriating funds, Oman's biggest financial scandal which was behind the collapse of the Muscat Securities Market, the local stock exchange.
The de-listed ONIC Holding, the largest corporate house in the Gulf Arab state in terms of number of shareholders, is planning to sell a new head office building, wholly-owned subsidiary Al Ahlia Securities and a 38-percent stake in National Life Insurance to Bank Muscat. The first two deals would bring in $21 million, a senior company official said.
Macki said ONIC Holding has achieved a recent turnaround with a net profit of five million dollars for the three months to June 2001. This is against a net loss of $70.1 million reported for the 15-month period that ended March 2001 and $90.9 million in the previous 12-month period.
Total revenues plummeted by 68.6 percent to $16.4 million during the 15 month-period from $52.3 million for the previous 12-month period, the annual report said. The accumulated loss at $105 million represents 88 percent of the share capital of the holding firm that has five subsidiaries in its fold.
Macki said that the company has taken steps to bring down its share capital substantially and to concentrate on core insurance-related business.
ONIC's general insurance subsidiary, Oman National Insurance Co., is under liquidation following losses arising from an energy related reinsurance business underwritten in 1997. –(AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)