News eDaily29 Aug 2017

China:PICC Group to acquire ASEAN insurers

29 Aug 2017

Chinese nonlife insurance giant PICC Group is in talks to either acquire or buy a stake in several Southeast Asian insurers and expects some deals to close before the end of the year, reported Reuters citing a senior executive of the company.

Mr Xie Yiqun, Vice President of the group, said yesterday that he expects one or two deals to materialise this year with a few more to come in the next two or three years.

PICC’s overseas push is in line with China’s Belt and Road initiative, aimed at building a modern-day “Silk Road” that connects China by land and sea to Southeast, South and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

PICC plans to set up offices and branches in certain Belt and Road countries, while also looking for investment and acquisition opportunities, Mr Xie said at an earnings briefing.

“Insurance regulations vary from country to country,” he said. “We have a map (of target markets). Our progress in each country varies as each has a different level of openness.”

Although Chinese outbounds deals are declining in the wake of increased scrutiny by Beijing, M&A deals by Chinese companies in Belt and Road countries are soaring, with investment for 2017 hitting US$33 billion by mid-August, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Executives for the insurer also said it was using Shanghai-Hong Kong and Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect schemes as a new channel for investment and had spent CNY8 billion (US$1.2 billion) to CNY10 billion on that in the first half of this year.


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