Oman Investment Fund May 20 inked a deal with PetroVietnam Insurance to become its sole foreign strategic partner, through the acquisition of a 12.6-per-cent stake equivalent to 20.2 million shares from the insurer.

The acquisition is valued at 808.3 billion VND (42.5 million USD).

Under the strategic partnership, the Oman Investment Fund will support the local company to further enhance their quality of operations and increase the scope of investments into more asset classes. They will also co-invest in attractive Vietnamese opportunities, while globally leveraging respective strengths.

The fund, established in 2006, is the sovereign wealth fund of Oman and invests globally in a diversified portfolio including private equity, finance services, real estate and other strategic projects.

It had substantial experience in the energy sector which was also an objective of PetroVietnam Insurance (PVI) in the future, said Nguyen Anh Tuan, PVI's chairman. "Then the partnership with this fund will help us with proper management of an energy insurance contract, thanks to its accurate assessment."

Furthermore, OIF experiences would support the PVI in improving corporate administration and better performance in business, Tuan said. "We will also have more opportunities to expand our market share to Oman and the Middle East markets," he added.

Hassan Al Nabhani, the fund's CEO, said the partnership with PVI would provide the fund with opportunities to access the Vietnamese insurance market.

He pointed to the latest study showing that only 18 percent of the retail market for non-life insurance in Vietnam had been tapped, meaning there was great potential in the future. "We believe there will be a strong growth in the Vietnam insurance sector, and for PetroVietnam Insurance in particular, in the near future."

PetroVietnam Insurance has projected a turnover of 4.02 trillion VND (211.6 million USD) and a profit of 330 billion VND (17.4 million USD) this year. The company plans to open a life insurance subsidiary to ensure better profits for shareholders./.