SBI Looking at Selling Stakes in Insurance Subsidiaries

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State Bank of India (SBI), India's largest public sector bank, on Friday said it is keen on selling some of its stake in insurance subsidiaries and is in talks with respective joint ventures for the same.

"Yes, we have started talks with all our insurance joint venture partners. All our partners are very keen to dial up and certain amount of action has also started," SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters in Mumbai.

SBI Looking at Selling Stakes in Insurance Subsidiaries

The bank has partnered with BNP Paribas Cardif to form a life insurance subsidiary - SBI Life Insurance, in which they hold 74 per cent and 26 per cent stake, receptively.

The state-owned lender also has a general insurance venture - SBI General Insurance - with Insurance Australia Group (IAG). SBI owns 74 per cent of the total capital and IAG the remaining 26 per cent.

Bhattacharya further said there are third party investors also who are keen on buying SBI's stake in the insurance ventures.

She, however, made it clear the bank does not have any plan to sell its stakes in SBI Funds Management and SBI Global Factors, which offers services like finance, credit protection against payment default of buyer and sales ledger management.

SBI Global has not made profit as the factoring rules in India are very difficult, she said.

"In a country where the small and medium scale industries are not getting enough avenues for credit, we don't think it is a good idea to roll back this company into SBI, which we can do."

Bhattacharya said SBI will like to give the company a little more time and see whether it could become profitable.
The lender has also approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to relax some of the factoring rules.


Read more about: sbi, banking, lic
Story first published: Saturday, February 14, 2015, 10:54 [IST]
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