State Bank of India (SBI) recently announced that BNP Paribas Cardif is interested in increasing the stakes in SBI Life Insurance from current 26% to 36%. With its JV partner increasing the shareholdings, SBI’s market share will reduce to 64% in the insurance venture.
Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson, SBI, said, “BNP Paribas Cardif is keen to increase their shareholdings by 10%. They have exercised their right to take an initiative in this regard. The valuation will be done now and within four months, the procedure will be completed. We may shortly launch an initial public offer.”
With a nod to foreign direct investment (FDI) Bill from the Parliament in March 2015, now offshore companies can increase up to 49% their stakes in a JV. BNP Paribas Cardif will therefore monetize on this opportunity and increase its holdings in the SBI Life Insurance.
“We will encash the sale of our equity stake,” added Bhattacharya.
Moving forward, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), SBI’s general insurance partner, will also increase its shareholdings by purchasing SBI’s shares, this year. In this venture, IAG will increase it stakes to 49%, from the current 26%, diluting the 74% shareholdings of SBI.
“IAG will exercise its right to increase its shareholdings to 49%. Although the proceedings will take time, but valuation is underway,” said the SBI chief.
On Greece crisis, SBI Chief commented, “Since, India is minutely exposed to the Greek economy; the crisis will not affect us. Just because markets abhor uncertainty, it is what pulling the Sensex down. The moment the clouds of doubt will lift, the market will rebound in the bullish phase.”
Source: This news was published on June 30, 2015 in thehindubusinessline.com under the title: “BNP Paribas Cardif set to hike stake in SBI Life to 36%”
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