Banking & Finance

Huaxia Life expands holding in China Minsheng Bank to 4.13pc

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 7:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 7:02am

Huaxia Life Insurance, controlled by troubled mainland tycoon Xiao Jianhua, has increased its stake in China Minsheng Banking Corp, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The insurer said it bought 130.8 million A shares of Minsheng Bank in the secondary market in Shanghai last week, representing 0.36 per cent of the lender’s total issued ordinary shares. The purchase price was not revealed. The trades increased Huaxia Life’s holdings in the bank to 1.5 billion shares, including 1.15 billion A shares and 35 million H shares, or 4.13 per cent.

Huaxia Life was controlled by Xiao Jianhua, the businessman who went missing from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel in January. He is believed to be assisting mainland authorities in investigations, including those covering bribery and stock market manipulation.

Five months on, Hong Kong police still lack answers from China about missing tycoon Xiao Jianhua

Huaxia Life Insurance entered into an acting-in-concert agreement with Orient Group Incorporation in June 2016 and the two companies now jointly own 2.57 billion shares of China Minsheng Bank, representing 7.05 per cent of the bank.

In April, the Chinese Communist Party’s corruption watchdog put insurance regulator Xiang Junbo under investigation for violating party discipline, in a takedown that caps a year-long shake-out of the country’s financial services industry.

Huaxia Life Insurance, as well as Evergrande Life Insurance, Foresea Life Insurance, and Sino Life Insurance were investigated and penalised by the mainland regulator during the crackdown.

Huaxia Life was ordered by the regulator earlier this year to suspend its online business, and barred from applying to issue new products for three months.

Huaxia Life earned 152 billion yuan (US$22 billion) in 2015 through issuing short-term wealth-management style products, the biggest earner among the insurance industry. The company was founded in 2006 with a registered capital of 400 million yuan.