Punjab National Bank (PNB) has no plans to sell its equity holding in Canara HSBC Life Insurance, a life insurer in which it holds 23 percent stake, Atul Kumar Goel, Managing Director & CEO, said on Wednesday.
“As on date we do not have any plan to sell our stake, which is about 23 percent (in Canara HSBC Life Insurance),” Goel told businessline when asked about any planned stake sale in the life insurer.
Goel’s remarks are significant as it comes at a time when Canara Bank, the largest shareholder in Canara HSBC Life, recently indicated that it was looking to take the life insurer public through an initial public offering in the next couple of years.
Goel highlighted that the revised IRDAI guidelines now allows PNB to hold equity stake in two life insurers —PNB MetLife (30 percent) and as an investor in Canara HSBC Life upto 25 per cent.
“As on date we don’t have any plan to sell any stake in any company,” Goel added.
Rethink of decision
It maybe recalled that Goel had, this January said that PNB has decided to “rethink” its decision to divest holding in its associate company Canara HSBC Life Insurance. Earlier, PNB was looking to shed its entire stake in Canara HSBC Life, but later decided to “rethink” after IRDAI revised its guidelines.
Earlier, IRDAI norm required PNB to bring down holding in one of its life insurance companies to 10 percent. It was earlier stipulated that a bank cannot be a promoter of two life insurers and should bring holding to 10 percent in one of them. However, this norm has been changed and IRDAI has now permitted a bank to move from promoter category to investment category even if the holding is upto 25 per cent, Goel pointed out on Wednesday.
Last year, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance was rebranded and renamed itself to Canara HSBC Life Insurance.
Canara Bank has a 51 per cent stake in Canara HSBC Life Insurance, and HSBC has a 26 per cent stake, while the remaining 23 per cent is with PNB, which had few years back subsumed Oriental Bank of Commerce under a three-way amalgamation.
Earlier, HSBC Insurance (Asia Pacific) Holdings (INAH), one of the shareholders in Canara HSBC Life Insurance had expressed its keenness and intent to acquire Punjab National Bank’s stake in the life insurance company.
Web Title – No plans to sell stake in Canara HSBC Life Insurance, says PNB Chief Goel