Government relaxes stake sale norms for insurance firms

The government has relaxed stake sale norms for Indian insurance companies, allowing promoters to offload up to 26 per cent equity to a foreign partner in less than 10 years, finance ministry sources said today.

Under the revised guidelines, an insurance company, wholly owned by Indian promoters, can reduce its promoter equity up to 26 per cent at any time after registration.

Insurance companies in the country had to complete 10 years for offloading up to 26 per cent equity stake.

While a foreign partner can take a 26 per cent initial stake in an Indian insurance venture, an insurance company wholly owned by Indian promoter had to wait 10 years from incorporation for inducting a foreign partner.

The relaxation in the number of years would help the industry consolidate, a finance ministry official said.

The immediate beneficiary would be Reliance Life Insurance, which could now sell 26 per cent stake to Japan's Nippon Life Insurance Company.