LASACO Assurance Shops for N10bn Additional Capital

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Ebere Nwoji

LASACO Assurance Plc, is shopping for additional N10 billion capital through its existing and new shareholders as part of its plan to be recapitalise and a tier one player in the insurance industry.

The company plans to raise the additional capital through public offer, special placement or right issues and preference shares. But shareholders at the Extra Ordinary General Meeting of the company held in Lagos said they prefer preference share offer.

Already, the insurance firm has N5 billion from its existing 10 billion shares, with plan to create additional 10 billion shares at 50 kobo per share, translating to a new N5 billion to be raised through public offer, special placement or right issues. Moreover, LASACO Assurance intends to raise another additional N5 billion from its proposed 10 million preferential shares at N500 per share, thereby, bringing the expected funds to be raised to a total of N10 billion.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of LASACO Mrs. Aderinola Disu, said the tier-based recapitalisation exercise introduced by the National Insurance Commission(NAICOM) was responsible for the move of the company to upgrade its capital base to be able to play in the top echelon of the insurance sector of the economy.

She said the insurer is planning to raise addition capital through issuance of up to 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo per share and of 10 million preferential shares of N500 per share, subject to the relevant regulatory approvals.

While addressing the shareholders at the event, she urged the shareholders to authorise ” the board of directors , subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities, to raise additional capital through the issuance of up to 10,000,000,000 (Ten Billion Naira) ordinary shares of 50k each at 50k per share either by way of Public Offer, Special placement or Rights issue and /or up to 10,000,000 (Ten million) Preference Shares of 1,000 each at N500 per share.’’ .

The board had earlier proposed to raise its authorised share capital from 10 billion to 50 billion with the creation of additional 40 billion authorised shares, of which the shareholders vehemently rejected, thereby, calling for amendment to reduce the volume of authorised shares to be created to 10 billion with the addition of 10 million preferential shares.

Speaking on behalf of shareholders, the Founding National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria(ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, advised the company adopt the option of preferential shares, while reducing its ordinary shareholders, a decision, he said, would allow shareholders get good returns on investments, especially, through the preferential shares.

The board of directors of the firm later agreed to this, thereby, amending the Special Business of the meeting to include the aforementioned plan.
Under the tier-based capitalisation, insurance industry is divided into three. Tier one is for the highly capitalised operators; Tier Two is for fairly capitalised underwriters , while Tier Three is for the least capitalised firms.

Going by the company’s status as a composite insurance company, it would have to raise its capital base from N5 billion to N15 billion to operate in tier one class of the industry, which is the reason for seeking to raise additional N10 billion.