Religare to exit life insurance venture with Aegon

Religare Enterprises Ltd, the public listed holding company of a string of financial services businesses, said on Thursday that it would exit its life insurance joint venture with its Dutch partner Aegon.

The firm currently holds 44 per cent in Aegon Religare Life Insurance Co Ltd, while Aegon owns 26 per cent stake. The remaining 30 per cent is with ad-for-equity media investor Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), the firm behind media publications and TV channels like The Times of India and Times Now.

“After a strategic review, Religare has expressed a desire to exit the joint venture. Religare and Aegon have agreed that Religare will exit once a replacement shareholder is identified and is approved by the regulatory authorities,” Religare said.

The FDI ceiling for insurance sector is in the process of being hiked to 49 per cent which would allow Aegon to buy a part of the stake held by Religare. However, Religare would need to find other buyers for its remaining holding.

Aegon is an international provider of life insurance, pension and asset management. With headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, its companies employ over 27,500 people serving millions of customers across the globe. Its main operations are in the US, the Netherlands and the UK, but in recent years the company has expanded into new growth markets in Asia, Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America.

There are 24 life insurance firms in the country including state-run Life Insurance Co. Religare Aegon is the 21st ranked life insurer among the 23 private life insurers in the country as per first premium collection for the period ended June 30, 2014.

It had launched its pan-India operations in July, 2008 following a multi-channel distribution strategy.

Religare Enterprises share price closed at Rs 301.5 each, down 1.86 per cent on the BSE in a weak Mumbai market on Thursday.

In another deal in the life insurance space, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group sold 22.5 per cent stake in Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Ltd to Industrial Investment Trust Ltd (IITL) last year.

Also real estate developer DLF had sold its 74 per cent stake sale in DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Company Ltd -- its life insurance joint venture with Prudential International Inc – to Dewan Finance Corporation Ltd and its group entities. The firm has now been renamed as DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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