Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Cooperative likely to form joint venture with BNP

GETTING TOGETHERThe planned insurance venture would be the third of its kind in two years, with BNP Paribas SA controlling a 51 percent stake in the project

By Lan Chun-dar  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行), one of the largest commercial banks in the country, is likely to form a joint insurance venture with BNP Paribas SA sometime in the middle of this year, Taiwan Cooperative chairman Hsu Teh-nan (許德南) said yesterday.

Taiwan Cooperative, of which the government controls about 40 percent, is expected to hold a controlling 51-percent stake in the venture and has the right to appoint the new insurer’s chairman, while its French counterpart would take the remaining 49 percent share and the right to appoint the president, Hsu said.

THIRD OF ITS KIND

If the plan proceeds smoothly, the new insurance venture would become the third of its kind established in the past two years.

In 2006, state-controlled First Financial Holding Co (第一金控) announced plans to team up with Aviva Plc of the UK to form the First Aviva Life Insurance Co (第一英傑華人壽). With paid-in capital of NT$2.25 billion (US$72.6 million), the Taiwanese-British venture formally began business at the beginning of this year.

In June last year, Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) also announced plans to form a joint venture with Dutch insurer Aegon NV in Taiwan. The new venture is expected to start operation later this year, sources familiar with the businesses said.

NOT A FIRST

BNP Paribas has already tapped into Taiwan’s life insurance business through Cardif Assurance Vie (法國巴黎人壽), but Lin Tien (林田), a vice president and spokesman for Taiwan Cooperative Bank, said the planned venture would co-exist with Cardif in the local market as the two will have their respective distribution channels and product designs.

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