Reliance ADAG is in talks to sell a minority stake in its insurance brokerage business to the UK-based insurance broking firm THB. Even as the diversified Indian group is talking to four international firms including Lockton (world's largest privately held independent insurance brokerage firm based in US) besides two other UK firms-- Howden and Tyser to sell a stake in Standard Composite Insurance Brokers (SCIB), THB is the frontrunner for the deal, which could be worth Rs 250-300 crore, according toa report in The Economic Times.
SCIB is a subsidiary of Reliance Money, the stock brokerage and financial products distribution company of Reliance Capital. Reliance Capital is the public listed financial services firm promoted by Reliance ADAG.
The idea behind the transaction is to build a stronger presence in the brokerage of reinsurance products and in risk assessment vertical, where Reliance Capital is a small player. It is now looking to get strategic expertise from foreign partners who are specialists in the reinsurance business. Some of the big international players in the Indian re-insurance distribution business are Aon Global and Marsh.
Established in 1968 THB provides insurance broking, risk management and underwriting services to wholesale and retail clients and last year acquired Lloyd's broking interests. It went public on the Alternative Investment Market of London Stock Exchange in 2002.
There are two alternatives before Reliance Capital for the transaction: either dilute a minority stake in the existing insurance broking firm SCIB to the foreign partner or form a company which would house the reinsurance and risk assessment businesses where the foreign partner would hold the majority stake.
SCIB, which works with multiple insurance companies in both life and general space through more than 10,000 outlets in India, has tripled its revenues in the first nine months of 2008-09 to Rs 130 crore.
It is targeting a turnover of Rs 300 crore by March '09 as the last quarter is usually the peak period for selling insurance products in India. The valuation of SCIB would be more than two times the revenues, which would peg it around Rs 600-700 crore.