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Bank Rakyat Indonesia in venture talks with 4 foreign insurers

[SINGAPORE] PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, the nation's second-largest lender by assets, is looking to partner with an international life insurer for a possible venture to be decided by June, Deputy President Director Sunarso said.

The bank has been in talks with four companies from Asia, Europe and North America to set up an insurance unit in which BRI would hold a majority stake, said Mr Sunarso in an interview in Jakarta Friday. He declined to identify the companies and financial advisers. Like many Indonesians, he goes by one name.

State-owned BRI has more than 50 million customers in Indonesia, which needs insurance products, said Mr Sunarso, who joined the bank earlier this year from PT Bank Mandiri.

"Life insurance is a growth area, which we expect to contribute to our bank's revenue in the long term," Mr Sunarso said. "It's my priority to do it this year." Manulife Financial Corp, Canada's largest life insurer, agreed last month to pay S$1.6 billion to sell its insurance products in Asia via DBS Group Holdings Ltd.

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