Charoen Pokphand sees HK$12.2b gain in Ping An stake

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 4:37am

A stock rally means Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group stands to pocket a gain of HK$12.2 billion following the regulatory approval of its purchase of a 15.57 per cent stake in Ping An Insurance from HSBC.

The HK$72.7 billion deal for 1.23 billion Ping An H shares has proved to be a good one for the agricultural conglomerate controlled by Dhanin Chearavanont, the richest man in Thailand.

CP agreed to pay HK$59 for each Ping An share on December 5 - 25 HK cents above the average price of the stock in the preceding 20 trading days.

The stock yesterday finished at HK$68.90, in line with the market's steady upward trend since last month.

Payment for the second and final tranche, of HK$57.6 billion, for the shares was made in cash on Friday, HSBC and CP said.

When the deal was announced in December, state-controlled China Development Bank, which was backing it, seemed to be distancing itself from the acquisition after media reports raised questions about the means of financing the deal and the identity of the real buyer.

None of the parties involved, including the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and Ping An, has disclosed to date how CP funded the second tranche of shares.

The first tranche, amounting to HK$15.1 billion, was paid on December 7.

Sources familiar with the situation said Dhanin had launched an intense lobbying effort in Beijing to salvage the deal from the brink of collapse.

Completion of the transfer of the second lot of shares is expected to take place tomorrow.

Darwin Lam, an insurance analyst at Citi, said the regulatory approval removed the biggest uncertainty over Ping An shares.

A recent regulatory nod for a convertible bond issue by Ping An has also dispelled concerns about its capital position.

Jefferies' analyst Baron Nie said the completion of the transaction would act as an "upside catalyst" for Ping An.

Its premium figures last month could also surprise the market on the upside given the relatively low expectation, Nie added.