The Malaysian unit of Zurich Financial Services is to merge with Malaysia's MCIS Insurance. The deal aims to create a composite insurance firm, which will fight for "anchor" status in the state-driven consolidation of the industry.
MCIS Insurance, which deals in both life and general insurance, will retain its composite insurance licence in the merger with Zurich, which writes non-life insurance in the country.
"It's planned to have capital of between 100 million and 120 million ringgit (SFr43 million to SFr52 million) after the merger is completed," MCIS chief executive L Meyyappan told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's insurance industry, like the country's banking and stockbroking sectors, is subject to a government mandate to consolidate ahead of planned deregulation and increased foreign competition under World Trade Organisation rules.
Last November, the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, asked local insurers to double their minimum paid-up capital to 100 million ringgit by June 2001.
The government had also stated that it wanted the insurance sector controlled by 10-15 so-called "anchor" operations against several dozen in the market at present.
No job losses were expected as a result of the MCIS merger with Zurich.
swissinfo with agencies