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Rediff.com  » Business » Religare, Dutch insurer to float life risk venture

Religare, Dutch insurer to float life risk venture

July 08, 2006 15:08 IST

Religare, the financial services arm of the Ranbaxy group, and Dutch insurer Aegon are set to float a life insurance company, where Religare will hold 48 per cent stake and Aegon 26 per cent. The proposed company's balance equity will be held by another Indian entity.

The partners are in talks with a corporate to hold the balance equity in the proposed life insurance company, a Religare executive said.

The insurance company's promoters do not plan to bring in another partner just for capital, Aegon Chairman Donald J Shepard told Business Standard. The promoters would like a new partner to bring other things that could help the business, he added.

Shepard declined to divulge Aegon's India-specific investment targets. The shareholders in the life insurance companies would strongly capitalise the (proposed) company was all he said.

Aegon and Religare today also signed a memorandum of understanding to enter the asset management business, besides life insurance. In the asset management business joint venture, the partners will hold even stakes.

Aegon has a strong worldwide presence in the pensions business. The company plans to enter the pensions business in India too, once the legal framework allows it to do so, Shepard said.

Aegon's life insurance venture with Religare will be the sixteenth company to enter the Indian market. The partners will be open to the possibility of taking over an existing insurance company, if such an opportunity comes along, Shepard said. However, there are no plans for a takeover right now, he emphasised.

Aegon decided to partner Religare after having talked to a lot of potential partners in India. Unlike other large global insurance companies, the company was not very aggressive on entering the Asian markets in the 1990s.

Aegon has set up operations in Taiwan and China. Along with India, South Korea and Japan would be the other key markets in Asia for the company. At present, the US accounts for almost two-thirds of the company's business.

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Sanjiv Shankaran in New Delhi
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