Sun Life continues Asian expansion with increased ownership in Birla

By Andrew Rickard | December 04 2015 02:16PM

Kumar Mangalam Birla, president of Aditya Birla Nuvo and Birla Sun Life Insurance.

Sun Life Financial is increasing its holdings in India’s Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) from 26% to 49%, paying Rs. 16.64 billion or about $340 million CDN for the shares.

BSLI is a joint venture between Sun Life and the Aditya Birla Group (ABG) and began operations in 2001; it has a customer base of 1.6 million individual policyholders and a distribution network of more than 55,000 advisors with 489 branches in 418 cities. Sun Life has another joint venture with ABG, namely Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company Limited, which is the fourth largest mutual fund company in India with assets under management of Rs. 1,387 billion (approximately $28 billion CDN).

This announcement comes less than a month after Sun Life increased its holdings in a Vietnamese joint-venture, the PVI Sun Life Insurance Company, from 49% to 75%. Sun Life says this most recent purchase is yet another step in building a presence in markets with strong growth opportunities.

"Increasing our ownership position in BSLI, one of India's leading private life insurers, in partnership with a well-respected partner in Aditya Birla Group, in the world's second most populous country with strong growth prospects, is exactly on strategy and supports our aspirations for Sun Life Asia as one of our four pillars of growth," says Dean Connor, president and CEO of Sun Life Financial.