Taishin Financial Holdings Co (台新金控), a Taiwanese financial group in merger talks with rival SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (建華金控), yesterday denied a press report that it plans to buy Sinon Life Insurance Co (興農人壽).
"The report is speculative and is not true," Taishin Financial said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.
"We are still studying the plan of expanding into the nation's insurance industry," it said.
A Chinese-language business daily reported yesterday that Taishin Financial and Sinon Life have already signed a confidentiality agreement on the purchase, with the price to be determined next month. Sinon Life is the nation's smallest life insurer. Expanding into insurance may put Taishin Financial in a better position to compete with bigger rivals like Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), which offer a full range of products from asset management and banking to insurance.
Taishin Financial, which is about 30 percent owned by foreign investors, offers retail and commercial banking, brokerage, bills finance and asset-management services.
SinoPac Holdings said on Feb. 23 that it is still in merger talks with rivals Taishin and the International Bank of Taipei (台北國際商銀).
But a Chinese-language daily reported on Wednesday that SinoPac prefers to merge with rival International Bank of Taipei (台北國際商銀) rather than Taishin Financial.