Australian insurer QBE Group is hiking its stake in Indian joint venture Raheja QBE General Insurance Company Ltd (Raheja QBE) by acquiring 23 per cent additional stake from its local partner with Prism Cement Ltd for Rs 102.9 crore(A$21.5 million or $15.8 million), according to a stock market disclosure.
Prism Cement Ltd, the JV partner in Raheja QBE, has received its board approval today to sell 23 per cent stake in the JV post which it will hold 51 per cent stake in the company.
Mumbai-based Raheja QBE provides personal insurance, business insurance and family insurance services. It was formed in 2007 as a JV between QBE Holdings (AAP) Pty, a wholly-owned subsidiary of QBE Insurance Group, Australia, and Prism Cement.
This makes it another foreign insurer to move to raise its stake in its Indian venture. Early this month, UK-based Aviva Plc, UK’s largest insurer with business across Europe, Asia and Canada, said it is planning to increase its stake in its local JV with Dabur Group, Aviva India to 49 per cent.
Japan’s Tokyo Marine said it has has sought to raise its holding in Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance from 26 per cent to 49 per cent; Axa hiked stake in Bharti Axa; Aegon raised its stake in Aegon Religare Life Insurance to 49 per cent as part of a larger deal where Religare sold its stake in the firm to media house and existing investor BCCL.
Among others, Ageas is in talks to hike stake in the tri-partite JV with IDBI Bank and Federal Bank, IDBI Federal Life Insurance; BNP Paribas Cardif of France is in talks to hike stake in its existing JV with SBI, SBI Life Insurance and early this year UK’s Bupa said it would increase its holding in Indian health insurance venture, Max Bupa.
These moves follow the hike in the FDI ceiling in insurance from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in March this year.
Hyderabad-based building materials firm Prism Cement Ltd which was founded in 1992, manufactures and sells cement. The company is also into ceramic tiles business and operates through three divisions—cement business, tiles maker H & R Johnson (India) and ready mix concrete unit RMC Readymix (India).
In 2013, Prism Cement had divested its entire stake in LSE-listed Norcros Plc.
Prism Cement’s scrip last traded at Rs 100.40 each, up 2.6 per cent on BSE in a weak Mumbai market on Monday.
QBE Insurance Group, one of the top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies globally, provides insurance services mainly to Australia, America, Europe and Asia Pacific region. The company reported a net profit of $742 million in 2014. QBE Group employs over 17,000 employees in 30 countries.