Birla-Nippon Life merger falls through

Major party backs off amid complications of insolvency resolution process

Birla-Nippon Life merger falls through

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Merger discussions between Aditya Birla Capital and Nippon Life have reportedly broken down over disagreements on shareholding and governance rights.

Nippon Life, which owns a 49% stake in Reliance Nippon, a life insurance joint venture with Reliance Capital, has refused to reduce its stake, Mint reported. The Japanese insurance group was planning to merge Reliance Nippon Life with Birla Sun Life Insurance, which is backed by Aditya Birla Capital.

Reliance Capital and its subsidiaries are currently undergoing insolvency resolution, with the group having a consolidated debt of around INR400 billion (SG$6.76 billion).

According to the report, Nippon Life’s stake would have been diluted to below 10% had the merger succeeded, and the Japanese insurer was not amenable to losing all the shareholders and the governance rights.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India guidelines state that an entity cannot float two life or non-life insurance entities. As such it would have been mandatory for Birla Sun Life to merge with Reliance Nippon Life Insurance had its promoters emerged as successful bidders during Reliance Capital’s insolvency resolution process.

Aside from Reliance Nippon Life Insurance, the other Reliance Capital businesses undergoing insolvency proceedings are Reliance General Insurance, Reliance Securities, Reliance Asset Reconstruction Company, Reliance Home Finance, and Reliance Commercial Finance.

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