Eurizon completes stake purchase in Union Life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 April, 2007, 12:00am

Union Life, an insurance company in Wuhan, said Eurizon Financial Group had completed taking a 19.9 per cent stake in the firm for 860 million yuan.

Eurizon of Italy paid 6.5 yuan for each new share in Union Life.

The deal was announced in February by Eurizon and Union Life made the official announcement on Friday.

Union Life, which specialises in life insurance products, was founded in 2005 by six private investors, including Zhongfa Industrial Group, a Beijing conglomerate. Zhongfa has a 20 per cent stake in Union Life and is the single largest shareholder.

'The local shareholders [of Union Life] will not give up the controlling stake in the company,' said Union Life chairman Dai Hao, adding that Eurizon would appoint two directors to the board who would not be involved in daily operations.

Mr Dai told the press on Friday that Union Life would seek a state-owned investor to boost its shareholding structure.

He said the firm intended to go public by 2015.

Union Life ranked No10 in the mainland's insurance market with gross premiums of about 1.6 billion yuan last year. The company wants to double this to more than three billion yuan this year.

Plans also include an increase in the number of agents to more than 50,000 this year, up from 20,000 last year.

Business operations will also be expanded by adding six to eight provincial branches, taking its network coverage to 18 provinces, the company said.

Union Life plans to draw on Eurizon's expertise in risk management, product development and distribution to back its growth strategy that targets about 10.3 billion yuan in premiums by 2010, Eurizon said.