HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by market value, said yesterday that its insurance wing had agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in a South Korean insurer, in the global banking giant's latest expansion in Asia.
HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific) Holdings will buy the stake in South Korea's Hana Life Insurance Co less one share from Hana Financial Group Inc for US$58.4 million, the company said in a statement.
Hana Financial Group is one of South Korea's largest financial services groups.
London-based HSBC said the joint venture would allow the bank to extend its growing insurance business to South Korea, an economy whose insurance market is the second-largest in Asia.
"It ties in completely with our stated goals of expanding in Asia and aim of becoming a top 10 global insurance player, with a focus on life and pensions and increasing insurance-related earnings over time to 20 percent of total group profits," said Clive Bannister, group managing director of insurance at HSBC, in an e-mailed statement.
Hana Life was established in 2003 to underwrite and distribute life insurance products for both personal and corporate customers.
It posted a premium income of US$228.3 million for the year ended March 31.
In recent months, HSBC has announced a joint insurance venture in China and has bought a 10 percent stake in one of Vietnam's leading insurers.