The insurance sector seems to have major news coming. India’s leading non-life insurer ICICI Lombard General Insurance is in talks with Sunil Bharti Mittal led Bharti Enterprises’ Bharti AXA General Insurance for a cashless merger deal, according to sources close to the development.
However, according to the sources final level of discussion between the two corporates is on and it is expected to make this formal announcement next week. However, any such merger requires requisite regulatory, government and judicial approvals, and the entire process may take at least a year to complete, the sources added.
ICICI Lombard is all poised to acquire Bharti AXA General in an all stocks deal worth over Rs 2,500 crore, said the sources. Well, experts from the industry have a firm belief that this announcement is expected to make a significant impact on Indian motor insurance, health insurance and general insurance sector.
When contacted, both ICICI Lombard and Bharti AXA General did not respond.
Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises has a majority stake of 51 per cent in Bharti AXA General Insurance, while French insurance giant AXA has 49 per cent.
If the merger process gets through, the sources pointed out, both Bharti and AXA shall exit their non-life insurance businesses.
Recently, Bharti AXA General won Rs 800 crore worth insurance mandate from the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments to insure farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
ICICI Lombard, which commands a market share of 8.4 per cent, recorded a 29 per cent rise in net profit in the April-June quarter of FY2020-2021, according to the IRDA.
Notably, non-life insurance companies posted a 6 per cent drop in premium collections in the Covid-19 and lockdown-hit first quarter of this fiscal.