Standard Life tells City expected Indian float will be delayed

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The Independent Online

Standard Life's incoming chief executive, David Nish, has told City fund managers that the firm's anticipated flotation of its Indian subsidiary business, HDFC Standard Life, could be delayed until 2011.

Mr Nish, who has spent the last few weeks meeting institutional investors, officially takes over as chief executive from Sir Sandy Crombie in January. He indicated that the firm's Indian business, a joint venture with HDFC in which it enjoys a 26 per cent stake, the maximum under current Indian law, was unlikely to place until the end of 2010 or 2011. The flotation had been slated for the end of this year.

Changes to Indian legislation mooted for next year mean that Standard Life and other foreign insurers could own stakes up to 49 per cent. It's believed that Mr Nish reaffirmed to fund managers his commitment to maintain Standard Life as an independent firm, steering a path away from the Resolution-led consolidation drive in the sector.

"Our Indian joint venture with HDFC continues to perform well," said a Standard Life spokesman. "The expectation continues that the potential will arise to float the business once market and regulatory conditions are appropriate."