AXA wins India approval to raise stake in Bharti insurance JVs
MUMBAI May 6 (Reuters) - Europe's second biggest insurer AXA has won the Indian government's approval to raise its stake in two local insurance joint ventures with Bharti Enterprises to 49 percent, a government statement showed.
In March, foreign ownership limit in Indian insurance companies was lifted to 49 percent from 26 percent as parliament voted to change the law, in the first major economic reform almost a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.
AXA currently owns 26 percent each in Bharti AXA Life Insurance Co. Ltd and Bharti AXA General Insurance Co. Ltd, with Bharti Enterprises owning the remainder. Both AXA and Bharti had said in March that AXA planned to raise its stake in the ventures to 49 percent.
The increase in AXA's stake in the life insurance venture will lead to a foreign direct investment of 8.59 billion rupees ($135 million), and 4.31 billion rupees in the general insurance venture, the finance ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved 19 foreign direct investment proposals totalling 21.65 billion rupees in a meeting on April 9, the statement said. ($1 = 63.6300 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Malini Menon)
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