Wing Hang Bank

Anbang considers bids for Wing Hang

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 4:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 4:43am

Anbang Insurance is among companies considering bids for Wing Hang Bank, Hong Kong's second-largest family-run lender, according to sources.

Beijing-based Anbang, which offers insurance and asset management, had held talks to buy the 45 per cent stake held by members of chairman Patrick Fung's family, its affiliates and Bank of New York Mellon, one of the sources said.

Wing Hang, with a market value of US$4.3 billion, had also drawn interest from companies including Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia, said sources, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private.

Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp was considering an offer for Wing Hang, people familiar with the matter said in October. Wing Hang was seeking a valuation of at least two times book value, one person said. The lender currently trades at 1.6 times book value.

Hong Kong's family-run banks are attracting interest from buyers as the city's role in cross-border financing expands. Yue Xiu agreed last month to buy a majority stake in Chong Hing Bank for US$1.5 billion, the first acquisition of a Hong Kong lender since 2009.

Anbang, whose shareholders include state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industry and China Petrochemical, has 510 billion yuan (HK$645.8 billion) of assets, according to its website. Its property and casualty insurance unit recorded 5.49 billion yuan of premium income in the first 10 months of the year, data from the industry regulator showed.

Scotiabank, Canada's third-largest lender, would target growth in Asia after decades of expansion in Latin America, former chief executive Richard Waugh said in October. The bank already owns a minority stake in Bank of Xian, a city lender in northwestern China.

Wing Hang shares surged by a record 39 per cent on September 17, the day after it first announced acquisition talks. The company has slid 8.6 per cent from a September 24 peak closing price.