Star Health Insurance stake sale draws interest from PremjiInvest, Temasek, 10 others
Mumbai: Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd has received as many as 12 bids from interested parties, including financial as well as strategic investors, to acquire the business from private equity investors, two people aware of the development said.
Investors who have submitted bids include homegrown PE fund Kedaara Capital Advisors LLP; PremjiInvest, the private investment arm of Wipro chairman Azim Premji; Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pvt. Ltd; Carlyle Group; Bain Capital LP; Warburg Pincus LLC, and strategic investors such as HDFC Ergo General Insurance Co. Ltd, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd and Hero FinCorp Ltd, among others, one of the two people cited above said, requesting anonymity.
Kotak Investment Bank has been hired by investors to find a suitable buyer. “There are bids submitted in the range of $850 million-$1 billion (Rs5,400-6,400crore),” said the first person cited above.
Set up in 2006, Chennai-based Star Health Insurance is considered the largest independent health insurer in India. Investors in Star Health include ICICI Venture Fund Management Co. Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Tata Capital Growth Fund, Alpha TC Holdings, Apis Partners and Oman Insurance Co.
Besides the private equity investors, the promoter group also plans to exit the health insurer, Mint reported on 9 November.
Star Health Investments Pvt. Ltd, the promoter of Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd, which owns close to 40% of the insurance firm, joins other investors such as ICICI Venture Fund Management Co. Ltd and Sequoia Capital in trying to sell their investments in Star Health and Allied Insurance, the Mint report said.
Shareholders of Star Health Investments include Sequoia Capital-owned Snowdrop Capital Pte. Ltd (43.71%) and a clutch of Chennai-based individuals, according to data from the Registrar of Companies .
Apart from Star Health Investments’s close to 40% stake in Star Health and Allied Insurance, ICICI Venture and Tata Capital Ltd hold close to 20% each. Apis Partners LLP, Alpha TC Holdings Pte. Ltd and others hold the rest.
“There’s a good response in the first round and the bids will be evaluated on Friday during investors’ meeting and necessary steps will be taken later,” said one of the investors involved in the process.
Spokespersons for Star Health, Warburg Pincus, Bain Capital, Temasek, ICICI Venture and Carlyle declined to comment. Mails sent to Sequoia, PremjiInvest, HDFC Ergo, ICICI Lombard and Hero Fincorp did not elicit any responses.
“Insurance is emerging as among the biggest beneficiaries of the financialization of the household savings, reflecting in the high investor interest in the space,” said a Mumbai-based investment banker.
Global PE funds already have a strong presence in Indian insurance space. In May, Red Bloom Investment Ltd, a company owned by private equity funds managed by Warburg Pincus LLC, had bought 9% stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd, a joint venture between ICICI Bank Ltd and Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd for an amount of Rs1,827 crore. The stake sale valued the general insurance company at Rs20,300 crore.
In December 2016, US based PE firm KKR & Co. and Singapore-based Temasek had bought a 3.9% stake in SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd, subsidiary of State Bank of India (SBI), for close to Rs1,794 crore.
PE funds Apax Partners and Carlyle Group LP are among suitors weighing bids for a stake in Indian insurer Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co., a unit of Mumbai-listed Sundaram Finance Ltd, in a deal worth $500 million, Bloomberg reported last week.
Hero FinCorp Ltd, the financial services arm of India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd, was in talks to acquire a controlling stake in Future Generali—a joint venture between Kishore Biyani’s Future group and Italy’s Generali group—which did not materialize. Many of the leading insurance firms are tapping the primary market to monetize the increasing investors’ demand in financial services space.