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QBE to quit India

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QBE will sell its insurance joint venture in India as the insurer presses on with shedding non-core assets, freeing up resources to focus on its key markets including Australia and North America.

The deal to sell Raheja QBE, reportedly for $US76 million ($109.2 million), if approved by regulatory authorities in India, will see the Australian insurer make an exit from Asia’s third-largest economy.

The decision to exit India, one of the fastest-growing markets for insurance products, follows a similar retreat by IAG last year, which saw the personal lines giant agreeing to a deal to sell its 26% stake in the SBI General joint venture for more than $640 million.

“[The] announcement marks both a continuation of QBE’s strategy to simplify our business and the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for our strong team at Raheja QBE,” QBE Australia Pacific CEO Vivek Bhatia said.

QBE holds a 49% stake in the Mumbai-based joint venture, which was set up in 2009, offering general insurance products to personal and commercial lines customers. Prism Johnson, an Indian building materials company, owns the remaining 51%.

Under the terms of the deal, the joint venture will be owned through entities with ties to Vijay Shekhar Sharma, one of the country’s leading billionaire techpreneurs who founded the Paytm digital transactions platform.