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October 5, 2021

MetLife to increase stake in Indian JV PNB MetLife

American insurer MetLife has announced plans to increase its stake in the Indian joint venture (JV) PNB MetLife India Insurance Company (PNB MetLife).

The insurer has signed a share purchase agreement with IGE (India) and Elpro International to acquire their total combined shareholding of 15.27% in PNB MetLife.

Upon completion of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, MetLife will hold a 47.325% stake in PNB MetLife.

MetLife Asia regional president Kishore Ponnavolu said: “I am pleased that this transaction supports MetLife’s continued growth in India and will enable us to deliver even more value for our customers, partners and shareholders.”

The Dabriwala family, through IGE and Elpro International, was one of the initial investors in the JV, which caters to over 200 million customers.

Elpro International director Surbhit Dabriwala said: “We have enjoyed a strong relationship with MetLife for close to 20 years and seen PNB MetLife grow. Our involvement in PNB MetLife is part of a long tradition at Elpro of working with leading multinational partners in India, including in past ventures with GE and FANUC.”

In a separate development, French insurer AXA is reportedly planning to sell its stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

AXA owns a 3.5% stake in the general insurer and the deal could fetch it nearly $370.34m (INR27.59bn) on the upper end, Bloomberg reported.

The news comes shortly after the French insurer announced the merger of its non-life insurance operations in India, Bharti AXA General Insurance Company (Bharti AXA GI), into ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company.

AXA and Bharti’s ownership of Bharti AXA GI was 49% and 51% respectively.

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