Promoters of two large India insurance firms- Max Life Insurance and Reliance General Insurance (RGI) – are now looking for investors to grow their business in a highly competitive domestic insurance market.
According to the media reports, Axis Bank is exploring options to acquire a large stake in Analjit Singh controlled Max Life while Anil Ambani-controlled RGI is tapping Reliance Industries (RIL) and Piramal Group to sale of up to 49% in the venture, as the group seeks to cut debt.
RGI’s 49 percent deal is estimated to be around Rs 5,000-6,000 crore, valuing the company at Rs 10,000-12,000 crore, said the report. Credit Suisse is believed to be advising the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group.
RGI, a 100% subsidiary of Reliance Capital, had earlier plans to go for an IPO and was looking f0ra tie-up with a foreign partner earlier.
Axis Bank is one of the biggest distributors of Max Life.Max Life Insurance CEO Prashant Tripathy said that the company was keen on extending its relationship with Axis Bank, which ends in 2021.
The ongoing talks between Axis Bank and Max Life comes nearly two years after the Indian insurance regulator IRDAI disallowed the latter’s merger deal with HDFC Life on technical grounds. Incidentally, new Axis Bank CEO Amitabh Chaudhry was spearheading HDFC Life when the merger was being discussed.
Max Life has been long looking for a banking partner. It had earlier looked at acquiring IDBI Federal Life Insurance — an arm of IDBI Bank — to get the parent’s distribution. However, the move fell through after its PSU rival Life Insurance Corporation acquired majority stake in IDBI Bank.
IndusInd Bank had also explored a majority share acquisition in Max Life, but talks didn’t progress as the former insisted on 51% control, said the report.