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July 29, 2020

ICICI Lombard in negotiations to buy Bharti-AXA General

By Verdict Staff

Indian general insurer Bharti-AXA General is likely to merge with private sector lender ICICI Lombard in an all-stock transaction that can value up to INR28bn ($374m).

The deal is expected to be closed in the next few weeks, Indian media reports suggest.

Emails sent to Bharti Enterprises – the majority shareholder in Bharti Axa Insurance – and ICICI Lombard by The Economic Times publication didn’t elicit an immediate response.

The proposed merger requires approval from Indian insurance watchdog, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI).

It is anticipated that the full stock buyout will see French insurance company AXA, which currently holds a 49% stake in the insurance company, exit their India business.

According to IRDAI data, Bharti-AXA General Insurance’s gross direct premium underwritten in the first quarter of FY21 declined by 12% to INR5.08bn against the corresponding period of the last year.

Based on gross direct premium income, ICICI Lombard General Insurance is said to be the fourth-largest non-life insurer in India.

The company offers a range of products including motor, health, crop, fire, personal accident, marine, engineering and liability insurance, through multiple distribution channels.

Last month, ICICI Bank divested its 3.96 % equity stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company for $295.3m to further bolster its balance sheet.

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