Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Allianz and Uni sell joint venture

STAFF WRITER

Allianz AG, Europe's largest insurer, and Uni-President Group (統一集團), Taiwan's biggest food company, said that they have decided to sell a joint insurance venture in Taiwan to Millea Asia Pte Ltd of Japan, companies said in a statement yesterday.

The sale of Allianz President General Insurance Co (統一安聯產險) to Millea Asia is expected to be concluded by September, the statement said, without disclosing financial details of the transaction.

Allianz said it's selling its Taiwan property and casualty insurance unit to focus on expanding life insurance and asset management here.

"The decision to sell Allianz President General Insurance enables Allianz to concentrate on developing our life insurance business in Taiwan, Allianz President Life Insurance (統一安聯壽險), which has a strong foothold in the Taiwanese market, especially through its unit linked investment products portfolio," board member Werner Zedelius said in the statement.

"Overall, Allianz remains committed to growing its financial services interests in Taiwan, including its asset management business Allianz Dresdner Asset Management," Zedelius said.

Millea has been expanding its insurance business through its affiliates in the Asia region and invested 30 percent share into Newa Insurance Co (新安產險) in 2002 in Taiwan.

Newa, ranked the 10th non-life insurance company in Taiwan, is very strong in automobile insurance with an extensive car dealer network, while Allianz President General Insurance is strong in commercial insurance business, with sales through an excellent network of in-house agents, Millea Asia CEO Takaaki Tamai said in the statement.

"The combination is very much complemental for Millea Asia, with not much overlap in business fields and distribution networks," Tamai said. "We are very pleased with this opportunity to further expand our presence in Taiwan non-life insurance market."

Uni-President said on Monday it plans to sell its non-core investments, including those in the financial industry, as it focuses more on its food and chain-store businesses.

"Our company strategy is to sell, at a good price and at the right time, our non-core investments like those in financial and some other sectors," Uni-President Spokesman Simon Hung (洪士民) said at the time.

Tamai and Allianz Group CEO Bruce Bowers yesterday morning visited the nation's financial authorities to inform them of their decision, said Chen Wei-lung (陳惟龍), deputy commissioner of the Financial Supervisory Commission's insurance bureau.

Allianz President General Insurance was established in 1996 with initial capital of NT$2 billion. With its strong growth over the past few years, the insurer has secured almost 3 percent of Taiwan's property insurance market, Chen said, citing the commission's statistics.

Fubon Insurance Co (富邦產險) is currently the nation's largest property and casualty insurer with a market share of 20 percent, or twice that of its nearest competitor, according to the commission.

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