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QBE denies Allianz takeover talks; Indian insurers eye IPOs

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

QBE denies Allianz takeover rumors, more M&A news

* QBE Insurance Group Ltd. denied media speculations that it was in discussions with Allianz Group about a possible takeover. QBE was responding to media reports that Allianz made an informal approach to QBE to gauge its interest in a takeover deal.

* Analysts told S&P Global Market Intelligence that a merger of Allianz and QBE makes little strategic sense and a bid seems unlikely. Helvea equity research analyst Daniel Bischof said that while both insurers are active in the commercial lines business, there is little logic in a merger from Allianz's perspective as QBE, with a current valuation of A$17 billion, would be a pricey acquisition for the German company.

* AFFIN Holdings Bhd. is seeking another time extension to negotiate a proposed deal for acquiring additional shares of AXA Affin General Insurance Bhd. The company is seeking a six-month extension from Bank Negara Malaysia.

* Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd.'s shareholders approved the proposed merger with Sompo Holdings Inc. Subject to customary closing conditions, the merger is expected to be completed later in the first quarter.

* ACR Capital Holdings Pte. Ltd. completed the acquisition of Asia Capital Reinsurance Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. and ACR ReTakaful Holdings Ltd. through unit Asia Capital Reinsurance Group Pte Ltd.

Indian insurers turn to IPOs

* SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. could sell a 10% stake through its proposed IPO. The IPO could happen in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, said the insurer's managing director, Arijit Basu.

* The Indian government is looking to raise 110 billion rupees by selling shares in five public sector general insurance companies in IPOs. The capital raising will help the government meet its disinvestment target of 725 billion rupees in fiscal 2017-2018.

* The government is expected to within months name advisers for the planned IPOs of the general insurers, Reuters reported. The IPOs are expected to be conducted by December, according to bankers.

In other news

* Nippon Life Insurance Co. said it would cut advertised rates for life insurance and annuity products for new contracts by 30 to 75 basis points, starting April 1. A number of insurance companies, including Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd., are also expected to announce an increase in their premiums as early as February.

* Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. lowered its full-year 2016 dividend to 1,200 South Korean won per share from 1,800 won per share in the prior-year period.

* UnionBank of the Philippines signed a bancassurance agreement with Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd.

* Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd. entered into a bancassurance agreement with Bank of Maharashtra.