Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises’ desire to exit the country’s financial services industry has been partly realised with the announcement that state-controlled Bank of India (BoI) is to buy its 25% stake in Bharti Axa Investment Managers (BAIM).
In addition, BoI will acquire a further 26% stake in BAIM from Axa Investment Managers Asia which currently controls BAIM through a 75% stake.
Established in 2007, BAIM has made slow progress in India. According to Axa, BAIM currently has assets under management of €25m ($32m) spread across equity, bond and money market mutual funds and serves 30,000 investors.
Given BoI’s national reach through over 3,700 branches the bank’s entry as BAIMs controlling shareholder should make a significant difference.
For Bharti its exit from the joint venture comes by way of a consolation prize. In November 2011, Bharti announced that a deal that would have seen it sell its 74% stakes in Bharti Axa Life and Bharti Axa General to Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries had been called off.
Bharti had earlier stated that the sales of its stakes in the two insurers formed part of its strategy of focusing on areas “where it is making a deeper impact”.
Bharti’s other interests include India’s biggest mobile phone service provider.