HSBC Snaps Up AXA Singapore Asset For $575M
HSBC Holdings has agreed to acquire French insurer Axa's Singapore assets for $575 million, part of its strategy of scaling up its wealth-management business in Asia to boost fee income, Anshuman Daga and Alun John reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: AXA Tower
The company said that the combined unit comprising HSBC Life Singapore and Axa Singapore would be the seventh-largest life insurer and the fourth-largest retail health insurer in the city-state, with over 600,000 policies in-force covering life, health and property, and casualty insurance.
HSBC currently ranks 10th in life insurance in Singapore and does not have a health insurance business. The Asia-focused bank, like its peers, is battling poor returns from lending in a low-interest-rate environment and is looking to boost customer fee income in areas such as insurance and asset management.
It said in February it would invest $3.5 billion in its wealth and personal banking business in Asia, which includes its insurance operations, part of overall investment in the region of $6 billion.
"This transaction gives the scale and the capability to continue to invest and grow from here," Bryce Johns, global CEO of HSBC Life and Insurance partnerships, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
The deal is HSBC's largest acquisition since the $726-million merger of its Oman branch with Oman International Bank in 2012, according to Dealogic. AXA, which also is struggling with low interest rates, is streamlining its business and withdrawing from areas where it lacks scale.