The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said yesterday the planned sale by American International Group Inc (AIG) of its stake in Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) remains under review, after reports that AIG plans to lay off Nan Shan employees if the deal fails.
“There is no new development, as far as I understand,” FSC Vice Chairman Wu Tang-chieh (吳當傑) told a routine news conference. “The commission doesn’t have an exclusive say on the matter.”
Wu made the brief statements following media reports on Monday that AIG plans to cut Nan Shan’s staff by 60 percent if regulators reject the purchase by a Hong Kong consortium.
The consortium, comprising China Strategic Holdings Ltd (中策集團) and Primus Financial Holdings Ltd (博智金融), announced in October last year that it planned to acquire Nan Shan from the debt-ridden AIG for US$2.15 billion.
AIG said yesterday it was committed to closing the Nan Shan sale and was confident it would obtain Taiwanese regulatory approval.
AIG also said in a statement that it “has no intention of selling its stake to any other party, and for example, will not entertain an offer from Chinatrust.”
Earlier this month, Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) said it remained interested in buying AIG’s stake in Nan Shan.
Its purchase of Nan Shan would be in “the best interest of AIG, Nan Shan and US taxpayers, who own 80 percent of AIG,” Chinatrust Financial president Daniel Wu (吳一揆) said in a statement on Aug. 13.
“Chinatrust believes that the proposed acquisition by the consortium still faces serious regulatory challenges. Chinatrust, therefore, remains interested in renewing its own, superior bid for Nan Shan,” Wu said at the time.
Taiwanese regulators, the FSC and the Investment Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs are due to hand down a decision in October, which is the deadline AIG set for the consortium.
Among issues that have to be addressed are whether the potential Hong Kong buyer is backed by Chinese money, whether it has experience in the insurance business and questions about its ability to raise money for future operations.