ING sells stake in Indian life insurance joint venture
ING said on Wednesday the move was part of the sale of all its Asian insurance and investment management operations. The sale of the stake in ING Vysya Life Insurance was expected to be completed during the first half.
Besides buying ING's 26 percent in ING Vysya, Exide said it would buy 24 percent from two other private Indian investors - Enam Group and Hemendra Kothari Group - for a total of about 5.5 billion rupees ($102 million).
Exide, which already owns 50 percent of ING Vysya, will "induct a new international life insurance player" after the completion of the acquisition of the remaining 50 percent stake, it said.
ING's exit from the venture comes within a year of New York Life selling its 26 percent stake in a life insurance joint venture with Max India to Japan's MS&AD for about $530 million.
India's insurance business was full of promise when it was thrown open to competition in 2000, but has instead been brought to its knees by losses, regulatory change, uncertainty and a sharp slowdown in economic growth.
A proposal to raise the foreign ownership of insurance firms to 49 percent from 26 percent, key to bring in funds to the loss making sector, has been pending for a long time due to fierce political opposition to
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