Local insurance groups mull bids for HSBC’s Indian life insurance venture

Indian life insurers HDFC Life, Birla Sun Life and ICICI Prudential Insurance Co are considering a potential deal for the local life insurance joint venture of UK’s HSBC Holdings Plc (LON:HSBA), two sources told the Economic Times.

HSBC, which owns the Canara HSBC OBC Life insurance JV together with local Oriental Bank of Commerce (BOM:500315) and Canara Bank (BOM:532483), has contacted the insurers through its advisors, the report said.

The UK group’s partners in the venture could also agree to exit the JV depending on the price, although they have not made a decision yet, the sources explained to the paper.

An official at Birla Sun Life and a senior executive at ICICI Prudential confirmed interest in Canara HSBC OBC Life, when asked by the Economic Times, while a spokesperson for HDFC Life did not wish to comment.

The JV, ranking 19th in terms of new business income among 24 Indian life insurers, holds a market share of 0.56%, the paper said. It has a paid-up capital of INR9.5bn (USD176m/EUR132m), with HSBC said to be expecting to get at least the return of its capital.

The UK group, holding 26% in the venture, is exiting its insurance operations globally.