Australia's AXA Asia Pacific is to set up a joint venture with Malaysian group Affin Holdings to acquire the life insurance arm of Tahan Insurance Malaysia Berhad.

AXA said the joint venture would enable it to enter the Malaysian life insurance market, one of the largest and fastest growing markets in Asia, in partnership with a well-established financial group.

Under the terms of the venture, AXA will sign an exclusive distribution agreement with Affin and its relevant subsidiaries, which will leverage its own extensive bank branch network as well as AXA’s regional best practice blueprints, particularly the bancassurance blueprint, and AHB’s extensive bank branch network

The group already has an existing general insurance joint venture in Malaysia with France’s AXA SA.

The expected price was not disclosed, but further details of the transaction will be announced after all legal agreements have been finalized. The two firms hope to complete the move by December 2005.