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Manulife Financial Corp, Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd And Standard Life Plc's HDFC Life Said To Bid For HSBC Holdings PLC's India Insurance Arm-Reuters

Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 11:19pm EDT 

Reuters reported that Manulife Financial Corp and the Indian affiliate of Standard Life plc are among the suitors to place first-round bids for HSBC Holdings PLC's Indian life insurance business, a stake valued at about $200 million. HSBC is selling its 26% stake in a life insurance joint venture (JV) with two Indian state-run banks, as it sheds noncore businesses globally. The winner of the auction will get immediate access to about 5,500 branches of the two state-run banks. Bancassurance is emerging as a key tool to sell insurance products across Asia as the life insurance industry matures in the region. HDFC Life, a joint venture between India's top mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) and Standard Life Plc; Birla Sun Life, a venture between Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group and Canada's Sun Life; and ICICI Prudential Life, a JV between ICICI Bank Ltd and Prudential PLC, are among the bidders to submit first round bids last week. HSBC's two Indian partners in the venture, Canara Bank Ltd and Oriental Bank Of Commerce Ltd could also pare their stakes, although no final decision has been made on this. That could push the deal value to $800 million, including a bank distribution agreement, they added.