AIG divests in retail financing
By Joseph Samson
Jun 23, 2009
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New York-based insurance firm, AIG, plans to offload its stake in retail financing units in India - Weizmann Homes Ltd and Vivek Hire Purchase and Leasing Ltd. The company has already extended a mandate to Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG, to find prospective buyers for the same.

The company plans to sell its asset holdings to raises funds to repay the US government bailout amounting to $182.5 billion. The company took the bailout to tide over the impending chances of bankruptcy during the sharp economic downtown in September last year.

Quoting an AIG official, "In May, Deutsche Bank had enquired about our interest to purchase these two companies. Since we were not interested, we did not go ahead."

The country head and chief executive, AIG India, Sunil Mehta declined to comment on the matter.

The parent company has planned divestiture in several businesses, with main emphasis on asset management vertical. The sale of Weizmann Housing and Vivek Hire Purchase in India is also a part of same strategy. Besides the fact, remains that company has not success in these business and both these undertakings require more scaling (funds for expansion). The retail industry in India has been sluggish due to effect of economic downtown, as also evidenced by data released by RBI - the housing loans during April-February 2009 declined to Rs. 19,012 crore from Rs 26,930 crore during the same period last fiscal.

AIG India has presence in various businesses in India, including its association with the Tata group for life and general insurance businesses. The insurance firm has a majority stake in Weizmann Homes, and 75 percent stake in Chennai-based Vivek Hire Purchase. The Weizmann Homes is a housing finance company registered with the National Housing Bank.

The company is also into real estate development, with partnership with Bangalore-based RMZ Corp. The company also has presence in diverse areas like aircraft leasing, asset management, private equity, consumer & home finance. AIG System Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is the software venture of the company and Global Information Systems Ltd. is its business process outsourcing arm.


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