Religare to exit from Aegon Religare Life Insurance

MUMBAI: Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer, plans to raise its stake in its Indian life to 49% even as its partner exited the venture by selling its 44% stake to Bennett, Coleman and Co ().

“Aegon would increase its stake in the JV company to 49% while BCCL would acquire the entire 44% from ,” Religare said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange. “This transaction is subject to necessary and appropriate regulatory approvals of CCI, FIPB andIrda.”

Aegon has joined foreign insurance companies such as France’s AXA and UK’s Bupa which have agreed to increase their stake in their local ventures after the government permitted foreigners to raise their holdings to 49%, from 26%. Others such as Prudential of the UK, Standard Life and Old Mutual may also raise their stake.

The agreement provides for BCCL to buy Religare’s entire 44% in , and for Aegon to raise its ownership to 49% from 26%. BCCL, which publishes newspapers, including the Times of India and The Economic Times, now owns 30%. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Aegon Religare reported a 41% increase in new business premium income to Rs 207.5 crore in 2014-15, from Rs 147 crore in the previous year, according to data compiled by the Life Insurance Council, a representative body of life insurance companies. The life insurance industry as a whole saw a decline of 5.84% in income from selling new policies to Rs 1,13,140 crore.

The company operates through 67 branches in over 52 cities across India. It has an employee strength of 1,670 and serves more than 3.5 lakh customers.

The promoters have invested capital of Rs 1,310 crore as per latest available numbers.

The company incurred a loss of Rs 34.16 crore for the first nine months ended December 31, 2014. Insurance companies generally take eight to ten years to report profit. The joint venture started operations in July 2008.

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