Singapore's DBS Group plans to invite bids from insurers keen to sell general insurance products across the key markets of Southeast Asia's biggest lender, in a deal potentially worth up to US$350 million, reported Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter said.
DBS, which has partnerships with subsidiaries of Japanese group MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings since 2005, plans to seek bids from insurers as soon as next month, three sources told Reuters. They declined to be identified as the news is not public.
Two of the sources said the 15-year deal is estimated to be valued at up to US$350 million, but it could change depending on the deal's structure and sales assumptions made by the bidders.
DBS is expected to pick one or two insurance partners for the deal, which could cover all of its key markets of Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, China and Taiwan.
MS&AD's units are expected to participate in the bidding process, which is also likely to draw interest from France's AXA, Italy's Generali and Australia's QBE Insurance Group, the sources said.
The move underscores 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.
In the last few years, banks such as Standard Chartered and CIMB Group have formed partnerships with insurers as the latter were willing to pay hefty fees for access to lenders' branch networks and digital platforms.