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Max New York Life may evaluate stake in Satyam

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

Max New York Life Insurance Company Limited (MYNL), a joint venture between Max India and US-based New York Life, will evaluate whether to hike its stake in the beleaguered Satyam Computer Services once a credible strategic investor comes into the company.

“If things change, we will evaluate our exposure in the company,” MYNL chief executive officer and managing director, Rajesh Sud, said replying to a question here.

According to Sud, MYNL had sold most of its holding in Satyam immediately after the IT major made an aborted bid to acquire Maytas Infra and Maytas Properties for $1.6 billion on December 16, 2008. MYNL still holds 6,000 equity shares of Satyam.

“We have been very fortunate. Our investment managers were quick to take a view and exited most of our holding,” he said, adding that MYNL exposure in Satyam was not substantial.

MYNL chairman Analjit Singh said New York Life would increase its stake in the company from the current 26 per cent to 49 per cent once Parliament passed the Bill on foreign direct investment. As per the joint venture agreement entered into by the two companies, New York Life could hold up to 50 per cent of the equity in MYNL. An additional 23 per cent equity stake would be given to New York Life at a “10 per cent discount on the fair market value.”

MYNL, which achieved a year-on-year growth rate of 58 per cent in 2007-08, is expecting to grow by 45-50 per cent in the current fiscal. The company is well capitalised with a paid-up equity capital of Rs 1,800 crore. “We envisage a capital infusion of up to Rs 3,800 crore by 2011-12. We also anticipate to achieve break-even in that year,” Singh said.

MYNL has made a representation to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) to allow banks to sell the products of more than one insurance company. “It should be a cafeteria approach. If not, no sizable bank is currently available for us for bankassurance,” he said, adding that Irda was yet to act on his representation.

New York Life Insurance president and chief executive Ted Mathas said the company was maintaining highly diversified portfolios in the US. It was also sticking to basics and always kept in mind the long-term prospects of its investment. “Nobody likes a bad economy. We are, however, more prepared than most others to meet the challenges of a strained environment,” he said.

Mathas said the economic meltdown had also provided opportunities to narrow the gap between the top four private sector insurance in the country.

First Published: Wed, February 25 2009. 00:53 IST