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Punjab National Bank to buy 30% stake in MetLife India

India's Punjab National Bank (PNB) has agreed to buy 30% stake in MetLife India Insurance, an affiliate of MetLife, for undisclosed amount.

The move of the PNB bank will mark an entry to life insurance business in country.

Upon completion of the transaction, the joint venture will rebrand as PNB MetLife to leverage the strengths of the two brands in the Indian market.

In addition, both the firms have entered into 10-year distribution arrangement, whereby PNB will distribute MetLife India products across its 5,000 PNB branches across the country.

Punjab National Bank chairman and managing director Kamath said with 60% branches in the rural and semi-urban areas, PNB is uniquely positioned to take insurance to the deep pockets of India.

"This partnership has the potential to drive the company into the top tier of Indian life insurers and more than double its market share," Kamath said.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close before the end of 2011.