LAST_UPDATETue, 22 May 2018 11pm

BSN, Prudential Insurance Buy Uni.Asia Life For RM518m

PETALING JAYA: Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and The Prudential Insurance Co of America (PICA) is seeking to buy Uni.Asia Life Assurance Bhd from Uni.Asia Capital Sdn Bhd (UAC) for RM518 million cash.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, DRB-Hicom Bhd said that its 51%-owned unit UAC yesterday submitted an application to Bank Negara Malaysia to review the disposal of Uni.Asia Life to a company jointly owned by PICA and BSN on a 70/30 shareholding basis.

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd holds the remaining 49% stake in UAC.

"This is an important investment for BSN in an industry and market that offer strong potential for growth," BSN CEO Datuk Adinan Maning was quoted as saying in a press release posted on the American insurer Prudential Financial Inc's website.

"We are pleased with the opportunity to partner with a global leader in life insurance and an emerging company in Malaysia's growing insurance industry. The combination of our respective expertise has the potential to give Uni.Asia Life a unique advantage in the marketplace," he added.

BSN is one of the largest financial institutions in Malaysia with over 8 million customers with retail deposits amounting to RM10.4 billion. It has 397 branches, 3,593 registered banking agents, 8.22 million customers, and total assets in excess of RM26.82 billion, as of March 2013.

The group also has a takaful joint venture with UK's Prudential plc since 2006, in which it a 51% controlling stake.

PICA is a unit of Prudential Financial Inc – a financial services leader with more than US$1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2013, and operations in the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

It is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential plc, a company incorporated in the UK.

Prudential Financial Inc said on its website yesterday that the proposed acquisition of Uni.Asia Life is expected to close by the end of 2013.

Once concluded, subject to the completion of the proposed transaction, Uni.Asia Life will sign a strategic, long-term bancassurance agreement with BSN to distribute its conventional life insurance products through its banking network.

"Malaysia is a very attractive market, with long-term growth potential, low life insurance penetration and a well-developed regulatory environment," the American insurer's senior vice-president and International Insurance group executive, Timothy Feige, said.

"This transaction is aligned with our strategy to build upon our success in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and expand our footprint in the growth markets of Asia through our regional office in Singapore, led by Jan van den Berg."

Jan van den Berg, president of Prudential's Asia region (excluding Japan), said, "In BSN, we have found a strong partner with an excellent reputation, a broad distribution platform and valuable insight into the local market. We are excited to join with them to acquire Uni.Asia Life, a strong company with a proud history, a well-respected management team and a growing customer base."

In addition to leveraging the branch and point-of-sale networks of Uni.Asia Life's distribution partners, Prudential and BSN will, upon and subject to the completion of the proposed transaction, work together with Uni.Asia Life to develop a high-quality agency sales force based on Prudential's highly successful 'Life Planner' model focused on needs-based selling, and explore alternative channels to help meet the insurance needs of customers in the urban and semi-urban centers and rural areas of Malaysia.

By drawing on Uni.Asia Life's strengths and combining them with Prudential's global capabilities in insurance and retirement, and BSN's local distribution network and knowledge, Uni.Asia Life will be able to broaden its range of products to deliver even more value to customers across Malaysia.

-The Sun Daily