Anbang Insurance Group is exploring a sale of Belgian insurer Fidea, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be the troubled Chinese insurer's first European divestment since it was seized by the government last February.
Deliberations on a potential sale are at an early stage, and there is no certainty they will lead to a transaction, reports Bloomberg citing unnamed sources.
Beijing-based Anbang has asked investment banks to pitch for a role in managing a potential sale of Fidea. Anbang is considering starting a formal auction process as soon as the third quarter, the people said.
Fidea was bought by Anbang in May 2015 for EUR369 million ($434 million), according to the annual report that year from the Chinese company’s life insurance arm.
Anbang’s other holdings in Europe include Dutch insurer Vivat and Belgian lender Nagelmackers.
A spokesman for Anbang said the company is still in the process of appraising its overseas assets one by one, and it doesn’t have any specific plan or timetable for proceeding with a sale.
Anbang shot to fame after snapping up assets around the world, including the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. The insurer’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was sentenced in May to 18 years in prison after being convicted of fundraising fraud and embezzlement.