Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

CSH eyes controlling stake in domestic insurer Nan Shan

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China Strategic Holdings Ltd (CSH), a Hong-Kong traded battery manufacturer, said it was seeking a controlling interest in American International Group Inc’s (AIG) Taiwanese life insurance unit.

China Strategic said in a filing yesterday that it agreed to join Primus Financial Holdings Ltd in a bid for AIG’s Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽), Taiwan’s second-largest life insurer. China Strategic said it would fund the purchase of “not less than” 60 percent of Nan Shan through a previously announced issuance of convertible notes that could raise HK$7.6 billion (US$980 million).

China Strategic said on Monday it had teamed up with Primus to bid for a controlling stake in a Greater China insurer, without identifying the target. The Primus group could bid between US$1.2 billion and US$1.4 billion for Taipei-based Nan Shan, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) could also bid for the unit, other sources said.

Nan Shan is burdened with unprofitable guaranteed-return policies it sold in the 1990s when interest rates were higher, raising concerns that a buyer may need to inject more capital, Fitch Ratings analyst Joyce Huang said.

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