Sat, Jun 27, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Chinatrust to bid for Nan Shan Life

UP FOr GRABS: The bank’s chairman confirmed a bid would be placed for the insurer at the company’s AGM, while angry investors protested outside its Taipei headquarters

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A protesting investor, left, scuffles with police during a street protest against Chinatrust Bank in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: NICKY LOH, REUTERS

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) yesterday expressed an interest in acquiring Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽), a local subsidiary of the financially troubled American International Group Inc (AIG).

“We will place bids at the auction [to be organized by AIG] on July 3,” Charles Lo (羅聯福), chairman of the group’s subsidiary Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託商銀), told reporters on the sidelines of the financial service provider’s annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday.

Lo said Chinatrust’s bancassurance channel would create synergies for both financial institutions if a merger went through since 96 percent of Nan Shan’s policies were traditional insurance products.

Among other potential bidders, Chinatrust will be competing head to head with state-run First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), which has also expressed an interest in acquiring the life insurance business for NT$60 billion (US$1.82 billion) by partnering with Aviva PLC to place a bid.

Nan Shan vice president April Pan (潘玲嬌) said yesterday that her company hasn’t been informed of such an auction and thus refused to comment on any market speculation, including whether parent company AIG had lowered the asking price for Nan Shan from NT$100 billion to NT$60 billion.

As of press time, AIG had not returned e-mails asking for confirmation of an auction.

Chinatrust Financial yesterday also reiterated its stance that it would shoulder its responsibilities over the sales of Lehman Brothers-linked structured notes after crowds of angry investors protested outside its headquarters in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) and chairman Jeffrey Koo’s (辜濂松) residence in Tianmu (天母), Taipei.

A representative from the Structured Notes Self-Salvation Organization (連動債聯合自救會) said that investors remained unsatisfied with the bank’s reimbursement of their losses.

In separate news, Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控) both held their annual shareholders’ meetings yesterday, and both vowed to expand their presence in China.

Taishin Financial chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮) told investors that he was forced to sell off the company’s brokerage unit, Taishin Securities Co (台証證券), to KGI Securities Co (凱基證券) for NT$29 billion after the government disrupted its planned merger with Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行), in which Taishin Financial owns a 22.5 percent stake, worth NT$36.5 billion.

However, the company plans to set up or acquire a small brokerage by the end of this year and is in talks with several Chinese banks with regards to possible merger and acquisition opportunities, he added.

The company would cancel a plan to issue 450 million new shares because the sale of Taishin Securities had enabled the company to raise enough funds to improve its capital structure.

Taishin Financial also approved a proposal to reduce the company’s capital by NT$4.73 billion and write off last year’s losses, its press release said.

Meanwhile, Yuanta Financial chairman Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章) told shareholders that the financial service provider had not ruled out the possibility of transplanting its successful securities brokerage businesses into China.

The company said it would also look for potential opportunities to acquire rival brokerage firms.

This story has been viewed 3246 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top