Britain’s Bupa will pick up a 26 per cent stake - the maximum equity allowed to foreign investors in Indian isurance sector - in a new joint venture with Delhi-based Max for about $24 million. The equity stake has been acquired through Bupa Asia-Pacific, which last month shifted its regional headquarters from London to Syndey, Australia. India’s private health insurance market is said to be worth $825 million. The market is projected to grow 10-fold by 2015. The private sector accounts for a 70 per cent of health care in India.

Bupa, which began as The British United Provident Association in 1947, had merged with MBF to form Bupa Asia Pacific. The company is also lookiing at a JV in China for a foray into that country.

This is the second JV in insurance sector by Max. The company - founded by Analjit Singh, the brother of late Dr Parvinder Singh of Ranbaxy Laboratories - already has a 74:26 JV with New York Life for life insurance business, which was set up in 2000.

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