As the saying goes, even the longest journey starts with a single step. So it is with NICO Holdings Limited- a Malawian company commemorating 40 years of existence since its incorporation in January 1970. N.I.C.O., then called National Insurance Company Limited, opened its operations in January, 1971 as a composite insurance company, writing both life and non-life insurance. Since then, NICO has grown in leaps and bounds positioning itself as an insurance giant with extensions into the IT and hospitality services.
NICO Holding's Limited's success story is well documented with several firsts.
• It was the first to list on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE).
• NICO Holdings Limited was the first company in Malawi to have successful investments in a foreign economy.
NICO's successful journey saw the company setting up the first cross-border general insurance company in Zambia in 1997. This also made NICO Holdings Limited the first Malawian company to open a foreign operation managed and controlled from Malawi.
In 2001, NICO Holdings Limited acquired a 74% controlling stake in the then New Building Society and converted the financial institution into a full-fledged commercial bank under the name of NBS Bank, Limited making it the third largest bank in the country. The bank successfully listed on the MSE in 2007.
However, NICO Holdings Limited remains the major share holder with a diluted 50.1%.
Realising the importance of Information Technology (IT) in its operations, NICO Technologies was formed to offer IT services to the NICO Group. NICO Technologies continues to give the Group many core competencies by providing the Group and other clients high-end IT systems and services.
In 2003, following significant growth of its core business and investment portfolio, the company restructured to allow the major business units to operate as independent and autonomous entities, leaving all central functions to the responsibility of the holding company.
This, saw the birth of NICO Holdings Limited as the holding company with NICO General Insurance Company Limited and, NICO Life Insurance Company Limited as the subsidiaries.
In 2004, and in line with NICO Holdings Limited's Regional Growth Strategy, NICO Holdings Limited acquired Imperial Insurance Company Limited in Uganda, and in the following year , acquired Imperial Insurance Company Limited in Tanzania. 2009 saw the acquisition of a stake in SFG Insurance in Zimbabwe and the formation of an investment company, NICO Asset Managers Limited.
Today, NICO Holdings Limited is not only a truly multinational company, but also the only Malawian multi-national company.
But what is the secret behind this robust growth?
The major asset of the group is the experienced and dynamic professional employees. NICO Holdings Limited seeks and employs the best people for the job and boasts of a highly motivated, trained and qualified professional team.
This team, together with rest of the staff are always ready and eager to serve 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, the company also owes its growth to its portfolio investor. It has significant investments in Standard Bank Malawi, Blantyre Hotels Limited, Chichiri Shopping Centre Limited, Chibuku Products Limited and Mwaiwathu Private Hospital, to name a few.
Some of the investments are landmark infrastructural developments which include NICO Centre in Lilongwe, the Lilongwe City Mall, Chichiri Shopping Centre in Blantyre and Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre.
These developments have not only transformed Malawi's landscape but have also contributed to the country's wealth and development. NICO Holdings Limited is therefore, a true partner in the economic transformation of the country.
But as the saying goes, the beauty of the neighborhood lies in reciprocating favours. Throughout its history of existence, NICO Holdings Limited has been giving back to society through Corporate Social Investment (CSI).
The investment has seen the company engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) gestures such as The Young Achiever Award Program, HIV/Aids at work place, supporting various institutions in risk management activities, and local charities.
As a major milestone for its commitment to CSI, NICO Holdings Limited has set up a Foundation, known as the NICO Foundation which will be responsible for the Group's CSR activities. Significant resources have been committed to this cause and NICO Holdings Limited is fully committed to serve and reciprocate to the good will of our clients and the countries in which the company operates.
Yet, at 40, having done all this, the company feels life has just begun. NICO Holdings Limited has a great vision of the future with great prospects. Despite the great challenges that face the economy, NICO Holdings Limited continues to perform beyond its expectations.
NICO Holdings Limited has a vision and strategy of expansion to be one of the largest financial services companies outside of Southern Africa. NICO Holdings Limited is set to be a Pan African Company. This will be achieved by providing its customers with top of the line products and services making NICO Holdings Limited the icon in financial services.