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AXA to launch p/c unit in India


BANGALORE, India— AXA S.A. has announced plans to create a new general insurance venture with Indian partner, Bharti Enterprises, with which it created a Bombay-based life insurance venture in 2005.

Paris-based AXA said it had signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the general insurance venture, which will write most forms of non-life coverage, including business insurance.

As with their life insurance company partnership, the new venture will be held 26% by AXA and 74% by Bharti Enterprises. Indian law limits foreign holdings in insurance companies to 26%.

Subject to regulatory approval in India, the new venture, based in Bangalore, should begin activity in the second half of 2007, AXA said.

Bharti Enterprises has diverse holdings in the agri-food business, insurance, telecommunications and distribution. In particular, it controls India's top telephone operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd.