UK based insurance and financial services firm Prudential has inked an agreement with Thailand based Thanachart Bank to acquire its Life Assurance Company for £368m in cash.

The transaction, which is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2013, after receiving regulatory approval, will boost its footprint in the growing Southeast Asian insurance market.

Following the completion of the deal, Thanachart Life will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prudential Thailand, doubling its market share in the country.

Additionally, the acquirer has also signed an exclusive 15-year partnership deal with the bank to jointly develop their bancassurance business in Thailand.

As part of the bancassurance partnership, both companies will team up to provide customer service and a variety of market leading life insurance, protection and savings products across all the branches.

According to the company, life insurance penetration in the country remains low at only 2.7%, offering substantial long-term profitable growth opportunities.

Bancassurance has been the main catalyst of growth during 2007 to 2011, accounting for 50% of life insurance first year premiums in 2011, compared to 28% in 2007.

Thanachart Bank serves more than four million customers through a network of more than 630 branches in the country.

Having £363bn in assets under management as on 30 June 2012, Prudential offers insurance and financial services through its subsidiaries and affiliates, globally.