KUALA LUMPUR — MAA Group Bhd is looking at the Takaful market of the Philippines to strengthen its insurance business, and possibly pave the way towards exiting its PN17 status.
Chief Executive Officer Muhamad Umar Swift said the group has allocated RM177 million for capitalization and expansion plans for this year, particularly in the Takaful business.
“We see a huge potential for growth in the Philippines and want to be part of it by introducing new insurance schemes,” he added.
The two areas of focus for MAA is the Southern Philippines in general and Mindanao in particular.
Muhamad Umar told reporters this after the company’s annual general meeting here Friday.
He said MAA Takaful conducted a workshop in the Philippines earlier this month, and aimed at bringing Shariah-compliant products, primarily Takaful, into the country.
MAA has entered the Philippines market through its general insurance product which contributed a low RM28 million to the group’s total premium.
In respect of the PN17 status, MAA has been granted an extension of time of up to July 31, 2014 to submit a regularisation plan to the regulator. The group was classified as a PN17 company in 2011.
“We are not going to pursue a regularisation plan which means acquiring another business. We are going to seek a lifting of the PN17 status by virtue of having a business, which is Takaful,” Muhamad Umar said.
Meanwhile, Executive Chariman Tunku Datuk Ya’acob Tunku Abdullah said MAA was caught between Bursa Malaysia’s PN17 rules (practice note) which requires it to buy another business to lift the status and the Islamic Services Act 2013 which only allows it to buy a financial services company.
“How many such companies are out there for sale? I am being asked to buy something that I cannot.
“We have explained this to Bursa Malaysia and it understands. It is just a matter of finding common ground on the issue,” he added.