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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 21/08/2007

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) doha • The Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company has launched a Takaful (Islamic insurance) branch with a paid-up capital of QR10m, the company officials said here yesterday.

Jamal Al Hamud, Deputy General Manager, speaking at a news conference on behalf of the company's Chairman, Sheikh Nasser bin Ali bin Saud Al Thani, said a commercial registration from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has already been obtained for the new branch named General Takaful (General Islamic Insurance).

He said that the branch will provide a wide range of Shariah-compliant general takaful products and services and that it will operate based on Islamic Shariah principles of cooperative and mutual insurance and will have a Shariah Supervisory Board.

The Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company H1 net profits soared 294 per cent to QR 70.08m as of June 30, 2007, compared to QR 17.77m in the corresponding period last year. This represented an increase of QR 52.31m.

The Earnings per Share (EPS) were QR 5.23 for first half of 2007 as against QR 1.56 in the corresponding period last year.

The company's insurance premiums rose from QR306.9m in the first half of 2006 to QR 487.97m in the first half of this year. This represented an increase of 59 per cent or QR181m.

Total assets rose by 20 per cent to QR1.56bn compared to QR1.3bn last year or an increase of QR 257.3m. The insurer's technical reserves rose 20 per cent to QR 161.53m as of June 30, 2007 as against QR 134.53m last year. This represented an increase of QR 27m.

Al Hamud said that the company is determined to benefit from the open economy policies that Arab countries are currently following in general by seeking investment opportunities in countries with legislations that encourage foreign investments.

He added that Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company will continue to play an active role in the country's urban growth by developing real estate properties in strategic locations that the company owns.

During the first half of this year, Al Hamud noted, the insurer has undertaken several housing projects in the country, such as the construction of 38 apartments in the Old Airport area, villas in East of Murra area, a project which is near completion in addition to a unique project to build a 54-storey World Trade Tower, a 136,000 square meter area.

The company has also purchased a 6,072 square-meter beach-front plot of land now under development within the Lusail real-estate project in addition to 22 plots of land totaling an area of 62,909 square meters that were purchased last year, Al Hamud said.

As for foreign investments, he said that the company currently owns shares in several insurance companies overseas, including in Syria (32 per cent), Libya (15 per cent) and Algeria (22.5 per cent).


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