Sat, Jun 05, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Nan Shan case hits a snag: ministry

CHINESE CONNECTION The ministry said it could not review the HK consortium’s request because it failed to answer questions on Chinese shareholding in the group


A Hong Kong consortium’s application to acquire Nan Shan Life Insurance (南山人壽) has hit a snag because it failed to comply with government requests for additional information, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

The Hong Kong group failed to submit documents requested by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) and other government agencies which should have accompanied its application in January for the government to approve the acquisition, the ministry said.

The agencies have asked the Hong Kong consortium, led by Primus Financial Holdings Ltd (博智金融) and China Strategic Holdings Ltd (中策集團), to provide, in particular, information related to any Chinese shareholding in China Strategic, the ministry said.

“The government needs all the required documents to complete its review of the application, as the shareholding structure of the consortium is very complicated,” the ministry said.

“Without a careful review, we cannot allow the deal to proceed,” the ministry said.

Under Taiwanese regulations, Chinese enterprises are not permitted to own Taiwanese insurance companies. Any overseas company in which Chinese investors have more than a 30 percent stake is classified as a Chinese company.

The ministry said it was also looking into whether China Strategic vice president and chief executive Raymond Or (柯清輝) is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

On Thursday last week, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) said Or and four other shareholders are CPPCC members and should therefore be banned from the planned acquisition of Nan Shan.

Earlier this week, the legislature’s Economics Committee passed a non-binding resolution initiated by the DPP requiring the government to forbid anyone who has been a CPPCC member within the last five years to join Nan Shan’s board or management team.

The Mainland Affairs Council will check whether Or’s status could have any impact on the deal, the ministry said yesterday.

In addition, the FSC will look at the consortium’s financial situation and its ability to deliver on its promise to run Nan Shan as a long-term investment, it said.

The consortium had hoped that the government would complete a review of its application by the middle of July, but the ministry said this would all depend on the information that the consortium provides.

In October the Hong Kong group announced plans to acquire Nan Shan from the debt-­ridden American International Group Inc for US$2.15 billion (NT$69.6 billion).

However, government approval is required before the deal can go though, as it will involve the interests of 4 million local policyholders.

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