(Bloomberg) -- Zurich Insurance Group AG and BNP Paribas SA’s Cardif unit are among the parties considering bids for PT Astra International’s life insurance arm, according to people familiar with the matter.

The insurance companies have started evaluating potential offers for the Indonesian firm’s life business as they seek to bolster their exposure to the southeast Asian economy, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Deliberations are still preliminary and a formal sale process for PT Asuransi Jiwa Astra, known as Astra Life, is yet to kick off, the people said.

The companies may decide against pursuing a transaction and other buyers could emerge, the people said. Representatives for Cardif and Zurich Insurance declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Astra didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Astra International, a Jakarta-listed conglomerate, has been working with a financial adviser on a review of Astra Life, Bloomberg News reported last year. Options under consideration include setting up a joint venture and a full or partial sale that could value the business at as much as $500 million, people familiar with the matter said at the time. A deal could also involve a so-called bancassurance partnership, in which an insurer is permitted to sell its products in a bank’s branches and other retail channels for a set period, the people have said.

Founded in 1872, Zurich Insurance is active in more than 200 countries and territories, its website shows. The company reported business operating profit of $6.5 billion in 2022, a 12% increase from the previous year. Its shares have slid about 2% this year, valuing the Swiss insurer at about $72 billion. 

With a presence in more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, Cardif’s gross written premiums reached €30 billion ($32 billion) in 2022, according to its website. Its pre-tax net profit last year was about €1.4 billion, an increase of 1%.

--With assistance from Fathiya Dahrul.

(Updates with company context in fifth paragraph.)

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