Singapore wealth fund GIC invests $210 mn more in Indian insurer

 Singapore wealth fund GIC invests $210 mn more in Indian insurer

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd picked up a little more than 1.6% additional stake in SBI Life Insurance Company Ltd on Friday.

GIC invested Rs 1,533 crore ($210 million) to buy the stake in a secondary market transaction from BNP Paribas, a co-promoter of SBI Life along with public-sector lender State Bank of India.

BNP Paribas sold around a 5% stake in SBI Life; it earlier held 5.2% of the company. A portfolio management arm of the French banking major bought a part of the stake.

GIC had originally come as an anchor investor in SBI Life’s IPO, in September 2017. It had then bought a small 0.2% stake for around Rs 147 crore (around $20 million then). It is not clear if it bought more shares of the insurance firm.

The sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Norway had also come in as SBI Life’s shareholders during the IPO.

Interestingly, another significant institutional shareholder of SBI Life is Temasek, a state-owned investment arm of Singapore government that operates independently from GIC.

Temasek had originally picked up close to a 2% stake in SBI Life for Rs 897 crore in December 2016. It had co-invested with private equity major KKR, which had bought a similar stake. KKR exited the life insurer in tranches.

The only other investors owning more than 2% of the firm are Canadian pension fund CPPIB and private equity firm Carlyle, which purchased the stake in early 2019. Carlyle had sold part of its stake in a quick churn in the same year.

SBI Life is India’s second-largest life insurer in the private sector after ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co.

Ankit Doshi

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