Richard Li’s FWD Group and Fosun International were reported bidding on Ageas’s local life insurance business.
Ageas, the insurer that emerged from the collapse of Fortis, was believed that decided the last two bidders for its local life insurance business to FWD Group, life insurance company owned by Richard Li Tzar-kai, and Fosun International (0656.HK), the largest private-owned conglomerate in Shanghai, China. Ageas’s local life insurance business is valued at more than US$1 billion.
Representatives for Ageas, FWD and Fosun declined to comment.
If Richard Li closes the deal, he indeed buys back the insurance business that Fortis acquired Pacific Century Insurance in 2007. In fact, it is an opportunity to expand his local life insurance business since he re-entered the insurance industry by forming FWD Group in 2012.
If Fosun wins the bid, it marks the group’s entry to the local insurance industry. It has spent US$5.7 billion acquiring insurance assets for two years.
Ageas was reported to finalized the bid in September.
The Hong Kong operation of Ageas reported an interim net income of HK$283 million, accounting for about 7 percent of its total earnings during the first half year of 2015. Also business premiums in China jumped 52 percent.
The company, which controls Belgium’s biggest life insurer, aims to pick a winner in about a month, people familiar with the matter said.
Li is trying to buy back the insurance unit he sold in 2007 to Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch financial services company now called Ageas.
The tycoon re-entered the insurance industry in 2012, forming FWD Group after he bought ING Groep’s insurance and pension units in Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand for 1.64 billion euros.
Fosun, led by billionaire Guo Guangchang, has spent US$5.7 billion acquiring insurance assets in the past two years. Any deal for the Ageas business would mark its first buy in Hong Kong.