AXA takes over non-life insurer

AXA Philippines -- a joint venture between GT Capital, the AXA Group, and First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC), a subsidiary of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. -- first announced its intention to purchase Charter Ping An on Nov. 5 last year.

"AXA Philippines announced that it completed the 100% acquisition of Charter Ping An," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The purchase of Charter Ping An, allows the life insurer to complete its proposition to offer a full spectrum of financial protection to all our customers, AXA Philippines President and CEO Rahul Hora was quoted as saying.

"Customers can now be well-protected across all stages of their life journey, with AXA providing a comprehensive suite of products be it in life insurance, savings and investment, health coverage, or property and casualty insurance. We will now focus our efforts on finding opportunities to synergize [sic] the operations in both life and non-life insurance," he added.

AXA earlier said prior to "customary closing conditions" -- including the receipt of regulatory approvals -- all operations of Charter Ping An and AXA Philippines will be business as usual and shall remain separate.

AXA Philippines is the second largest life insurance company in the Philippines, with total premium income of P22.82 billion in 2015, data from the Insurance Commission showed.

Charter Ping An, meanwhile, is the fourth largest non-life insurance company in the country in terms of net premiums written with P2.19 billion last year. It ranked fifth in gross premiums written last year. The insurer provides fire, motor car, marine cargo, personal accident, bonds, casualty and engineering insurance products.

Mel Mallillin, president of Charter Ping An, said: "We look forward to combining our local know-how with the global expertise of AXA in the non-life insurance business. We see a lot of opportunities for growth in our industry, and with our combined effort, we are confident about a very successful future."

Christoph Alsleben, regional head of strategy and financial planning for AXA Asia in Hong Kong was hired as integration lead. He has over 10 years of international experience in the insurance industry, having worked at the

AXA Group head office in Paris, as well as with AXA Germany.

The move to sell 100% of Charter Ping An to AXA is strategic for the GT Capital and Metrobank Groups -- which together own 53.5% of AXA Philippines -- the insurer earlier said, noting that Metrobank, through FMIC, owns 28.2%, while GT Capital holds 25.3%.

GT Capital and FMIC Chairman Francisco C. Sebastian, earlier said: "By consolidating its life and non-life insurance businesses, GT Capital further strengthens its presence in the country's under-penetrated yet fast growing insurance industry."

AXA Philippines has been operating in the country since 1999 and pioneered bancassurance operations in the Philippines, which is the distribution of insurance products through banks. It currently has a bancassurance partnership with Ty-led Metrobank and its thrift arm Philippine Savings Bank.

AXA is currently the number one non-life international insurance company and the number three international life insurance company in Asia, with presence in China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

At present, AXA Philippines has more than 811,000 insured. AXA Philippines has more than 2,700 financial advisers in 32 branches and 700 financial executives in over 900 Metrobank and PSBank branches nationwide.

GT Capital is a listed major Philippine conglomerate with interests in banking, property development, power generation, automotive assembly, importation, wholesaling, dealership, and financing, and life and non-life insurance. It is the primary vehicle for the holding and management of the diversified business interests of the Ty family in the Philippines.

Shares in GT Capital closed at P1,395 each share, down P9 from the previous day's close, while Metrobank shares ended Tuesday's session at P83.15 apiece, also down by 0.42% from P83.50 finish per share.

Source: Bworld Online