Bupa to up stake in Max India to 49%

UK-based healthcare group Bupa may be the first to announce plans to increase its stake in its Indian joint venture Max Bupa after Parliament approved a bill raising the permissible limit for foreign investors in Indian insurance ventures to 49 per cent from 26 per cent.

Max plans to increase its stake in its Indian JV, Max Bupa, from the current 26 per cent to 49 per cent, the company said a day after Parliament approved the law to hike foreign investment cap in the insurance sector.

Max Bupa is a 74:26 joint venture between Max India and Bupa.

"We warmly welcome the passing of the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, enabling us to submit our application to increase our shareholding in Max Bupa from 26% to 49%," Bupa said in a statement today.

"Together with Max India, we are committed to developing the business and the health insurance market," said David Fletcher, managing director for international development markets, Bupa.

Max India Group has presence in life insurance, health care and health insurance sectors.

Bupa, one of the leading international health care providers, has operations in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the USA.

"With a customer base of 2 million, Max Bupa is the 7th largest private health insurer in India and has huge potential to grow as demand for quality affordable health care continues to rise," Fletcher said.

The passage of the insurance bill is expected to bring in over Rs20,000 crore ($3 billion) in foreign capital and benefit companies like Max India and Reliance Capital through higher foreign-shareholding limits.