April 28, 2020 / 6:17 AM / in a month

REFILE-India's Axis Bank to buy 29% stake in insurer Max Life

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BENGALURU, April 28 (Reuters) - Axis Bank Ltd said on Tuesday it would buy a 29% stake in insurer Max Life Insurance, giving India’s third largest private-sector lender a seat among rival banks who already have a foothold in the country’s life insurance industry.

Axis Bank, which already holds a minority stake in Max Life, will buy shares from the insurer's majority owner Max Financial Services Ltd to raise its stake to 30%, the Mumbai-based lender said in a regulatory filing here

Max Financial will hold a 70% stake in the joint venture partnership.

Economic Times had earlier on Tuesday reported that the deal could be worth 16 billion rupees ($209.43 million).

Axis Bank and Max Financial were not immediately available to confirm the deal value.

“We continue to believe in the long-term prospects of India’s under-penetrated life insurance space, current environment notwithstanding,” said Amitabh Chaudhry, chief executive officer of Axis Bank.

India’s life insurance space is dominated by state-run giant Life Insurance Corporation, but other private and public sector lenders hold large stakes in life insurance companies.

Shares of Axis Bank, which rose as much as 5% earlier in the session after Economic Times first reported news of the deal, were last trading up 3.7% at 0613 GMT. Max Financial shares were up 7.1%.

Axis Bank will have the right to nominate three directors and Max Financial can nominate four directors on Max Life’s board. Axis Capital acted as the sole advisor to the bank for the deal.

The lender is due to report its March quarter results later in the day. ($1 = 76.3980 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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