Malaysia-based AMMB Holdings has shortlisted three insurance companies Manulife Financial, MetLife and ACE to submit final round of bids to acquire its life-insurance businesses, in a transaction expected to touch $600m.

In April this year, the banking company launched the bidding process to divest 70% shareholdings in its two insurance operations including AmLife Insurance and AmFamily Takaful, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Malaysian financial organization is also engaged in discussions with banking regulator, Bank Negara Malaysia for their approvals, and it is expected that the deal might conclude within the next three months.

The proposed disposal of insurance business will help AMMB to strengthen its profitable insurance business in the country.

As per the current financial regulations of the country, a foreign company cannot own more than 70% stake in Malaysian insurance companies.

The potential deal highlights the growing financial influence of Southeast Asian countries, whose businesses have attracted many global financial firms to set up their operations in the region.

Following acquisition of 30% stake in JVs by the Malaysian lender AmLife Insurance and AmFamily Takaful for $76m, the joint ventures (JV) between AMMB and UK insurer Resolution, came to an end in January.

Many global insurance companies have established their operation in the Southeast Asia either through acquisition or joint venture partnership, as life insurance penetration is relatively low in the region compared to other part of globe.

Morgan Stanley is offering advice to AMMB over the deal.