SIC Ghana Cites Ebola for Halting West Africa Expansion

SIC Insurance Co., Ghana’s biggest insurer, shelved plans to open units in Sierra Leone and Liberia as the nations battle to contain the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola.

The company, which was studying the financial viability of expanding, aimed to open general insurance businesses in the West African countries, Managing Director Doris Awo Nkani said by phone today. They would have offered motor, accident, marine, aviation and fire insurance among other products, she said.

“Because of the Ebola situation, the board this year decided to put the plans on hold,” Nkani said. “I don’t think the plans will be revived anytime soon.”

Sierra Leone and Liberia along with neighboring Guinea are the countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. About 5,000 people have died since December in the region.

Companies that have slowed investment in these countries, citing Ebola, include Dangote Cement Plc, Nigeria’s largest company and Africa’s largest producer of the building material. It delayed a planned expansion into Sierra Leone, CEO Devakumar Edwin said Nov. 4.

SIC’s net income rose 11 percent to 2.5 million cedis ($780,000) in the six months through June 30. Net premiums advanced to 48.1 million cedis from 46.2 million cedis a year ago. The shares fell 2.4 percent to 40 pesewas in Accra today, paring this year’s advance to 2.6 percent.

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