As published in the Lesotho Times by Bereng Mpaki on November 17th 2017
INSURANCE and risk management firm Aon Lesotho has rebranded to Minet Lesotho after British multinational, Aon Plc, completed the sale of its stake in its Africa operations to South African private equity firm Capitalworks.
The company announced the rebranding during a glitzy ceremony held this week at Mpilo Boutique Hotel and attended by the who’s who of the business community. Renowned South African musician, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, entertained the crowd in addition to be the master of ceremonies.
The acquisition is part of a buyout spanning 10 Aon units in Africa which also include Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda announced in February this year. Johannesburg-based company CapitalWorks is Africa-focused and manages more than $515 million (about 7.4 billion) in assets. Apart from Lesotho, regulatory approvals have been obtained in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia, with the authorisations for the remaining countries expected in the first quarter of 2018.
Aon sub-Saharan Africa – which provides a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions – will now be trading as Minet and will become Aon’s largest network correspondent. Aon workers in the affected countries will remain part of the operations that Capitalworks is acquiring, to ensure leadership, continuity and stability for clients. Aon Lesotho had 27 staff members.
In his remarks during the launch, Minet Group in Africa Chief Officer, Daniel Schuurmans, said the acquisition would enable the insurance services provider to be more flexible and agile in responding to the needs of the market. “One of the issues we really want to emphasize on is that this change will bring to us agility in our operations, especially in relation to our clients,” he said. “We like to think that Aon has particular systems that are good to run a multi-national company, but they were also cases of inflexibility, and while we will continue to run this company as a professional services firm as Minet, there will be more flexibility and agility that we would like to empower our staff with in order to best service the needs of our clients.”
Mr Schuurmans also indicated that they would reduce the firm’s operational bureaucracy and improve its corporate governance to ensure that it is able to respond to the needs of the market.
Minet Lesotho Chief Operations Officer, Retšelisitsoe Leboela, also indicated that they would harness the latest industry technology to improve their operations. “We are looking forward to unlocking growth in this sector by leveraging cutting edge technology and delivering solutions that solve our customers’ challenges,” Mr Leboela said.
For his part, Minet Group Africa Chief Executive Officer, Joe Onsando, said the firm’s customers would not incur any extra costs because of the rebranding. “We believe it is a very exciting time for our company because we see a great future in Africa. A lot of economies are growing and there is a lot of investment coming to the continent,” he said. “This investment would not have come if the risk was not removed from the investment. And we believe we play a big role in de-risking a lot of this investments in such sectors as infrastructure and mining around the continent.”
Mr Onsando added: “We believe that with our extensive network on the continent and also retaining the ties with Aon, we are uniquely positioned to bring the best of all the leading firm solutions from the rest of the world.”