Max Financial surges 13% as Axis Bank tweaks Max Life Insurance deal terms

Topics Markets | Axis Bank | Max Financial

Shares of Max Financial Services zoomed 13 per cent to a fresh 52-week high of Rs 622 on the BSE on Tuesday after the company said that Axis Bank has reduced the size of the stake that it plans to buy in Max Life Insurance to 17 per cent from 29 per cent.

Axis Bank had initially planned to raise its stake in the insurer to 30 per cent for about Rs 1590 crore.

"Axis Bank now proposes to acquire 17.002 per cent of the equity share capital of Max Life, resulting in total ownership of 18 per cent post the transaction. The parties have executed the definitive agreements. Axis Bank and Max Life will shortly approach the respective regulatory authorities, with revised applications for their consideration and approval. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals," Max Financial said in an exchange filing.

The financial terms of the revised deal were not disclosed.

The private-sector lender's move comes amid reports that the deal, announced in April, ran into a regulatory roadblock over certain clauses in the agreement.

Last month, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) had communicated to Axis Bank and Max Financial Services -- the life insurance company Max Life promoted by Max Financial Services -- to make some changes to the value creation options that the two firms were exploring. Irdai had asked them to factor in some alternate mechanisms subject to regulatory approvals.

According to this Business Standard report, there was a clause in the deal that said that after a little over five years, the entity will go for a listing on the bourses. However, if the listing does not happen, Axis Bank would swap the unlisted Max Life’s 30 per cent holding with the listed entity Max Financial Services, depending on the swap ratio. Further, if even that is not possible, then Axis Bank would have a put option to sell its shares in Max Life at a pre-determined price to Max Financial. Irdai has raised objections to these options included in the deal, said a source, adding there would tweaks to this part.

At 9:47 AM, Max Financial's stock was trading 12.73 per cent higher at 619.70 as compared to 0.32 per cent gain in the S&P BSE Sensex. Around 32 lakh combined shares have changed hands. The stock also posted a fresh 52-week high after surpssing its previous 52-week high of Rs 611.05, hit on March 4, 2020.

Meanwhile, Axis Bank also gained 1.63 per cent at Rs 453 on the BSE. Around 49 lakh shares have already changed hands on the NSE and BSE, combined, so far.

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