China Taiping Insurance may buy asset from parent firm

China Taiping mulls taking 25 per cent stake in life insurance unit in group shake-up

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2013, 4:15am

China Taiping Insurance may consider acquiring a stake in a life insurance unit from its parent firm, China Taiping Insurance Group, a move analysts said would help prepare the group for a stock exchange listing.

Trading in China Taiping was suspended yesterday at the company's request after the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported it might buy a 25 per cent stake in Taiping Life Insurance from its parent, increasing its holding to 75 per cent.

Belgian-based Ageas owns 24.9 per cent of Taiping Life.

China Taiping said in an announcement that it would consider increasing its shareholding in its subsidiaries, "including the possible acquisition of a 25.05 per cent equity interest in Taiping Life Insurance", with the support of its controlling shareholder. The firm said it would consider making other strategic investments.

Trading in the stock will resume today. The shares last closed at HK$15.58 on Friday.

The stake sale could be part of the parent company's plan to streamline its business in preparation for a listing on the A-share market, the newspaper report said.

China Taiping would prefer settling the deal through issuing new shares to its parent company, it said.

China Taiping might need to raise about HK$10 billion to fund the purchase by issuing 660 million new shares, said an analyst who declined to be named.

"China Taiping may also take the chance to expand its capital base to support its ambitious goals," he said.

The mainland insurer said in its interim report in August last year that it aimed to double premiums, assets and net profit in three years.