Singapore-based DBS Group is planning to “invite bids from insurers keen to sell general insurance products across the key markets of Southeast Asia” that it operates in, according to a published report.
The Reuters news agency cites sources “familiar with the matter” as saying the deal is potentially worth up to US$350m.
The move is seen as underscoring the under-penetrated region’s growing attraction to insurers, who see a big opportunity to boost business as rising incomes generate demand for property, motor and travel insurance products, the Reuters report notes.
It also points out that a number of other banks active in the region have formed partnerships with insurers, and that DBS itself already has some such agreements in place, including a deal agreed last year with Canada’s Manulife.
As reported, DBS expanded its footprint in Southeast Asia significantly last year, when it agreed a deal to buy the retail banking and wealth management businesses of five countries in Asia from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, which said it had decided to focus its efforts in the region on institutional banking.
The businesses in question were ANZ’s operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia.
In its report today, Reuters said DBS, AXA, Generali, and QBE declined to comment on the reports that DBS was soliciting bids from insurers. It said it received “no immediate comment” from MSIG Asia, a subsidiary of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.
To read the Reuters report in full on the Reuters website, click here.
DBS is Southeast Asia’s largest bank, as measured by assets. It was created in 1968 with the establishment of the Development Bank of Singapore, and is often described as having played a key role in the city-state’s evolution after its independence. It changed its name to DBS in 2003.