South Africa-based financial services provider Sanlam is mulling to acquire a 40% holding in MCIS Zurich Insurance, in an effort to boost its presence in Malaysia.

People familiar with the matter were reported by thesundaily as saying that discussions were currently ongoing between Zurich, the parent of MCIS, and Sanlam.

The sale follows the Malaysian central bank Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) mandate urging Zurich to close its joint venture with Koperasi MCIS by the end of June 2013.

In September 2011, Zurich acquired MAA Assurance for RM344m and as per the country’s regulatory laws, foreign companies are restricted from holding a stake in more than one local insurance firm. MAA Assurance has been renamed as Zurich Insurance Malaysia.

Zurich currently has an option to merge MAA Assurance with MCIS Zurich, while holding leadership of the widened entity, or dispose of MCIS and transfer its business and best practices to MAA.

Sanlam is a provider of personal finance and insurance services across Africa, Europe, India, Australia and the US with majority stakes in countries like Ghana, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia.