Bullish on growth prospects of his group's financial services businesses, industrialist Anil Ambani on Wednesday said Japanese major Nippon Life is in an advanced stage of talks to hike stake in Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Mutual Fund units within this financial year.
In Reliance Life, Nippon plans to hike the stake from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, while it would increase its holding in Reliance Capital Asset Management Company from 35 per cent to 49 per cent.
Addressing the shareholders at its Annual General Meeting here, the Reliance Capital Chairman also reiterated that the company would set up a new bank in India in collaboration with Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as and when RBI's policy permits.
He further said that the company would continue to unlock value at appropriate stages through stake sales in different businesses and also liquidate its financial investments in non-core areas, such as media, to book attractive returns.
The proceeds from asset monetisation will substantially be utilised to further reduce debt and strengthen Reliance Capital's already conservative financial ratios, he said.
Stating that he was looking forward to Reliance Capital's future with great optimism, Ambani said the company is in active discussions with Nippon Life Insurance to enhance collaboration for mutual benefit.
Pursuant to the government allowing higher FDI in insurance sector, Ambani said Reliance Capital is now in an advanced stage of discussions for Nippon Life to increase its stake from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in Reliance Life Insurance.
"Nippon Life Insurance is also actively engaged in the process of raising its stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management from 35 per cent to 49 per cent, at a higher valuation as compared to the last round," he added.
Ambani said these proceeds will flow to Reliance Capital and will be utilised to further reduce our overall debt levels.
Both these transactions with Nippon are expected to be completed within the current financial year, he added.
On home loan business, Ambani said, "Reliance Capital will more than double its housing finance book to over Rs 10,000 crore during this year, and rank among the top 3 players in the private sector in India within the next 3 years."
On other businesses, he said Reliance Capital is now at an advanced stage of preparations for relaunching ICEX, and expect to grow the business in a significant manner, so as to attain leadership rankings in this space within 3 years.
Reliance Cap currently holds 20 per cent stake in ICEX.
He also said that Reliance Capital plans to set up a host of emerging businesses in GIFT City facility in years to come, and will be starting with Alternate Investment Funds business.
GIFT City, located near Ahmedabad, is being developed as the first international financial services centre in India and would also be the first Smart City of the country.