Old Mutual in China insurance joint venture sell off: report

Old Mutual has reportedly put up for sale its 50% stake in its Chinese insurance joint venture.

The South African and UK financial giant which is, as reported, undergoing a major overhaul through a managed separation of its business, has, according to “people with direct knowledge of the matter”, confirmed the proposals for sale, partially due to tough conditions for foreign insurers in China.

According the report on Reuters today, Old Mutual is working with financial advisers on the stake sale plan and 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 that it spoke to.

The move is part of the broader Old Mutual group restructuring plans relating to 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 current bids don’t match its expectations.

An Old Mutual spokesman declined to comment on the mater when asked earlier today, while an email sent to Old Mutual-Guodian Life Insurance Co Ltd did not elicit an immediate response.

Despite being the world’s second-largest insurance market, restrictive ownership limits, capped at 50% for foreign life insurers,

Standard Life sale

Old Mutual’s plans leave the Chinese insurtsance market after 13 years, follow on from last week’s news, as reported, that Standard Life agreed to sell its wholly-owned Hong Kong life operation to its Chinese joint venture company Heng An Standard Life Insurance Company (HASL), after 18 years in the territory.

The Standard Life (Asia) deal is expected to take a year and a half to complete, subject to local regulatory and other approvals in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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