Sat, Dec 04, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Four firms submit bids to AIG for Nan Shan

UGLY DUCKLING:Nan Shan reported losses of NT$12.58 billion in the first three quarters of this year, after which AIG said it would sell the company within 12 months

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Footwear products maker Pou Chen Corp (寶成工業) has teamed up with Ruentex Group (潤泰集團) to bid for Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) as four potential buyers yesterday submitted bids to the local insurer’s US parent, American International Group Inc (AIG).

In a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Pou Chen, which makes sports shoes for Nike Inc, said its board had approved a proposal to join with Ruentex Group and bid for AIG’s 97.57 percent stake in Nan Shan.

The consortium led by -Ruentex Group, known as Ruenchen Investment Holding Co (潤成投資控股), is 20 percent owned by Pou Chen, 25 percent by Ruentex Development Co (潤泰創新), 23 percent by Ruentex Industries Ltd (潤泰全球) and 32 percent by other unidentified investors, according to separate exchange filings issued yesterday.

Ruentex Group which is led by chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), has business interests that range from textiles to construction and retailing.

Two other buyers Cathay Financial Holdings Co (國泰金控) and Chinatrust Financial Holdings Co (中信金控) said in their respective filings that their boards also gave the green light for the purchase of Nan Shan and had submitted their bids to AIG. Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) reportdely also made an offer, both Bloomberg and CNA said, citing unnamed company officials.

However, none of these bidding companies revealed the size of their offers.

AIG relaunched its sale of Nan Shan last month after Taiwan’s regulatory authorities on Aug. 31 rejected a Hong Kong consortium’s application to acquire the local insurer because of concerns over the buyer’s financial strength and long-term commitment.

The Hong Kong consortium, comprising China Strategic Holdings Ltd (中策集團) and Primus Financial Holdings Ltd (博智金融), offered to buy Nan Shan for US$2.15 billion in October last year.

Last year, Chinatrust Financial offered to buy Nan Shan at a price of between US$2.2 billion and US$2.35 billion. The company’s board last week approved a plan to raise more than NT$60 billion (US$1.95 billion) in new capital, paving the way for its bid for Nan Shan.

Fubon Financial reportedly offered to buy Nan Shan at a price of US$1.3 billion a year ago.

Amanda Chou (周佳容), assistant vice president of Nan Shan, said yesterday the US parent company declined to comment on the new bids.

Nan Shan has 4 million policyholders, approximately 4,000 employees and more than 34,000 agents in Taiwan. The company reported NT$12.58 billion in losses in the first three quarters and AIG said in a Nov. 5 statement that it aimed to sell Nan Shan within 12 months.

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