Old Mutual has put up for sale its 50% stake in a Chinese insurance joint venture, Old Mutual-Guodian Life Insurance, reported Reuters citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The move is part of a broader restructuring exercise of the Anglo-South African financial group to exit non-core and smaller operations, they said, adding there is no certainty a deal would happen and the company could end the process if the bids do not match its expectations.
Old Mutual, which is working with financial advisers on the planned stake sale, could sell its holding in the 13-year-old life insurance joint venture with Guodian Corp to one or more local firms, said the people. Guodian is one of China's five major state-run power generation companies.
Despite being the world's second-largest insurance market, restrictive ownership limits, capped at 50% for foreign life insurers, and tough local competition have weighed on foreign firms' operations and market share in China.
The restrictive ownership limit and the tough competition from local firms, many of them state-backed, have especially impacted the smaller foreign insurance joint ventures such as Old Mutual's in China.
Besides China, Old Mutual's Asia presence includes its life insurance joint venture in India with Kotak Mahindra Group.