Norton Rose helps Axa move into India

Norton Rose‘s Singapore office has acted for Axa on the insurer’s first venture on the Indian sub-continent.

Corporate finance partner Chris Moore advised Axa on its joint venture with Indian telecoms company Bharti Enterprises. Axa will hold 26 per cent of the venture – to be known as Bharti Axa Life Insurance Company – with Bharti owning the rest.

Axa and Bharti will invest Rs5bn (£63.4m) in establishing a life insurance business in India in the next four years.

The sub-continent’s insurance industry is still under-developed compared to Europe’s, with 80 per cent of India’s 1.1 billion people uninsured. However, several foreign insurance companies, including Prudential and Standard Life, have invested in India since the market was opened up in 1999.

The deal has been handled through Axa’s subsidiary Axa Asia Pacific Holdings.

Norton Rose is one of Axa’s main advisers in the UK, and has also previously advised Axa Asia Pacific. The firm’s Singapore office was established in 1982 and has six partners, with particular expertise in asset, corporate and Islamic finance.