ICICI Lombard in talks to acquire Bharti AXA General Insurance

New Delhi: ICICI Lombard General Insurance has initiated talks to acquire Bharti Enterprises backed Bharti AXA General Insurance in all stock transaction, according to sources.

Bharti Enterprises currently owns 51 per cent stake in Bharti AXA General Insurance, while French insurer AXA has 49 per cent.

According to the sources, the valuation of Bharti-AXA has been pegged around Rs 2,800 crore.

E-mail sent to Bharti Axa General Insurance, Bharti Enterprises and ICICI Lombard did not elicit an immediate response.

Bharti Enterprises has been trying for a long time to exit its financial services business. In 2016, Bharti Enterprises' talks with Reliance Industries to sell its 74 per cent stake in Bharti AXA Life Insurance and Bharti AXA General Insurance could not reach the logical conclusion.

The proposed merger would require various regulatory approvals, including from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai).

For the fiscal year ended March 2020, Bharti AXA General Insurance reported a 38 per cent increase in its gross premium collection to Rs 3,157 crore as against Rs 2,285 crore in 2018-19.

Crop insurance grew by 59 per cent to Rs 828 crore in the last financial year from Rs 519 crore in 2018-19. The company also bagged a Rs 800-crore crop insurance mandate from few state governments under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

For the first quarter ended June 2020, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company reported 28.4 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 398 crore as against Rs 310 crore in April-June 2019-20.

Gross direct premium income of the company stood at Rs 3,302 crore in June quarter, compared to Rs 3,487 crore in the year-ago period, a decline of 5.3 per cent.

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