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BUPA Australia plans merger with health insurance rival

BUPA Australia plans merger with health insurance rival

BUPA Australia, the nation's third-largest health insurer, said Friday it has proposed a merger with MBF Australia Ltd., the nation's second-largest.
BUPA, the Australian arm of the British United Provident Association, will seek regulatory approval for its proposal and will restart talks with MBF once approval has progressed, it said in a statement.
The industry is ripe for consolidation in Australia with 37 different health insurance funds vying for premiums from 8 million Australians _ about 45 percent of the population of 21 million _ who have private health insurance.
Earlier this month, Sydney-based MBF said it would sell stock in 2008. It is the second Australian health insurer to say it will list. Last month, policyholders in NIB, the sixth-largest health insurer with about 7 percent of the private health insurance market, voted to sell shares.
BUPA said a merger with MBF would create a national insurer with benefits for members and staff of both funds, and the Australian health system as a whole.
"Together MBF and BUPA Australia ... would be in a stronger position to hold down premiums, whilst providing greater efficiencies and improved services for members _ as well as being a leading voice in Australian health care," BUPA Australia Managing Director Richard Bowden said in the statement.
Comment from MBF was not immediately available.
MBF said in July it was considering takeover bids from several parties ahead of its plan to sell shares on the Australian Securities Exchange. The takeover bids were worth about 1.8 billion Australian dollars (US$1.5 billion; euro1.1 billion), Dow Jones reported.


Updated : 2021-07-24 19:55 GMT+08:00