China’s Ping An Insurance is considering acquiring UK-based insurer Prudential Plc’s business in Asia, according to a Bloomberg news report.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the report says the Shenzhen-based insurer has reached out to the Chinese government on whether it would be supportive of a deal, and has also discussed potential financing options with banks.
According to the report, deliberations are at an early stage and Prudential has not been approached. The deal would reshape Asia’s booming insurance industry and mark the biggest-ever Chinese acquisition.
First-half operating profit from Prudential’s Asian business jumped 14% to £1.02bn on a constant exchange rate basis, the insurer said. Asia contributed about 42% of Prudential’s total operating profit during the period, up from 35% for all of last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Wells is planning to spin off Prudential’s UK operations, to focus on faster-growing markets such as Asia.
The Hong Kong and London listed company said that overall operating profit amounted to £2.41bn for the first half.
The insurer, which has 15 million life customers worldwide, has turned its focus to Asia, where a large portion of the population is still not covered by any kind of insurance plans.
The market capitalisation of Prudential and Ping An Insurance was £47.27bn ($60.42bn) and 1.28trn RMB ($187.45bn), respectively, on August 10.