China's banking and insurance regulator has approved a CNY60.8 billion (US$9.67 billion) capital injection for Anbang Insurance Group, owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, according to a statement posted yesterday on the insurer's website.
The injected funds are from the China Insurance Security Fund which will help the privately-held Anbang “maintain stable operations”, the privately owned insurer said on its website.
The bailout fund will temporarily take a stake in Anbang during the restructuring of its shareholdings, a government work group said in the statement. The insurer will look for new private strategic investors.
Large private companies in elderly care, healthcare and fintech are welcome to take part in Anbang's restructuring, the statement said.
The injection of CNY60.8 billion will increase Anbang’s registered capital to CNY61.9 billion, the company said. That would mean the government fund owns 98% of the company, wiping out most of the equity stake of Wu and other shareholders.
The rescue move follows the takeover by regulators of Anbang in February after the group's global asset-buying spree raised questions about the risks it was undertaking. The group is accused of using funds from risky short-term high-yield investment-type policies to finance its investments. Its founder, Wu Xiaohui, was placed on trial last week on charges that he defrauded investors and misused company money.
Anbang was established in 2004 as a motor insurer and diversified into life insurance, banking, asset management, leasing and brokerage services. It grew to more than 30,000 employees with 35 million clients and made headlines with its aggressive investment forays overseas.