ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd said on Tuesday it is looking to acquire smaller rival Sahara India Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
The company has expressed its interest “to evaluate taking over policyholders’ liabilities and assets of Sahara Life,” the unit of ICICI Bank said in a statement.
The last reported policyholders’ liabilities of Sahara Life is about Rs 900 crore, which is less than 1% of ICICI Prudential Life’s balance sheet, it said.
The move came after the industry watchdog Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India took over management of Sahara Life last month as it believed the company was acting in a manner that could be prejudicial to the interests of policyholders.
It also directed Sahara Life to not underwrite new business, though it allowed the company to continue servicing the existing business and policyholders.
A June report by Mint newspaper, citing IRDA’s member in charge of life insurance Nilesh Sathe, the regulator had identified Life Insurance Corporation of India, ICICI Prudential, HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Co. Ltd and SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd as potential candidates to take over Sahara Life’s business.
On Tuesday, Mint cited Sathe as saying that ICICI Prudential had agreed to take over Sahara Life’s business and that the process could be completed in a couple of months’ time.
Sahara Life is part of the diversified Sahara Group, which has been struggling ever since the Supreme Court sent its founder Subrata Roy to jail in 2014 over the conglomerate’s failure to comply with its orders to repay investors Rs 36,000 crore ($5.4 billion) raised from millions of small investors in a bond selling scheme.