The Chandra's, promoters of the Unitech Ltd, India's second largest real estate company, are looking at a foray into the sunrise general insurance sector. This will be the second major diversification for the promoters, who have moved into the telecom sector a while back. A top Unitech executive confirmed the family's interest in the insurance sector.
"It is being looked at as a family investment, but not actively as yet", he said. The partner and the proposed investment has not been finalised, but sources indicated that the foray may be undertaken in partnership with a foreign company. At present 26 per cent FDI is allowed in the insurance sector and the limit is proposed to be increased to 49 per cent soon.
The Chandra's are among India's richest business families with their near 75 per cent holding in the listed Unitech Ltd worth Rs 19,293 crore (over $ 4.5 billion) as of today. Group patriarch Ramesh Chandra is the chairman while sons Sanjay and Ajay Chandra run the business as managing directors. Sanjay, who oversees the finances and new businesses like the wireless communications foray, is the public face of the group, while Ajay handles land acquisition and key south India markets for the real estate business side. The general industry consists of 14 players. The 14 non-life players consisting grew business by 12.
6 per cent to collect Rs 28,130 crore in fresh premium in 2007-08 as against Rs 24,975 crore in 2006-07. A new player Shriram General Insurance Company Limited has also made its debut this year and some more players are also expected to enter the general insurance market. The general insurance market which was detariffed from January 2007 has witnessed an unprecedented price fall prices of fire and engineering covers. However health insurance and motor insurance have performed well. It expected that Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority will give freedom insurers soon to change terms and conditions of contracts.
Published at: www.indiarealestateblog.com.
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