UPDATE 2-Portugal to sell insurer to China's Fosun for 1 billion euros

Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:09am EST

* Portugal to sell insurance arm of bank Caixa Geral de Depositos

* Fosun to pay $1.36 billion for Caixa Seguros e Saude

* Fosun's shares climb 4.7 percent

LISBON/BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Portugal has chosen Fosun International Ltd to buy the insurance arm of state bank Caixa Geral de Depositos SA for 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion), allowing the government to further exceed its privatisation revenue goal.

Portugal had to conduct a series of privatisations as a condition to receiving financial aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The latest sale takes privatisation revenue to 47 percent above target.

Cabinet Minister Luis Marques Guedes on Thursday said the government had chosen Fosun over a unit of U.S. investment fund Apollo Global Management LLC, the other remaining bidder, to buy 80 percent of Caixa Seguros e Saude, SGPS, SA, the country's largest insurance group.

Shares of Fosun subsequently rose 4.69 percent in Hong Kong midday trading compared with a 0.4 percent rise in the benchmark index.

Fosun said it will complete within 30 days a sales and purchase agreement for the insurer, which has a domestic market share of 26 percent.

For Fosun, which is bidding to acquire French resort company Club Mediterranee SA and last year forked out $725 million for One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York, the purchase represents its latest move toward building an insurance-oriented investment conglomerate.

The Portugal acquisition "marks a solid step for Fosun to develop Warren Buffet's model," Fosun Chairman Guo Guangchang said in a statement.

Fosun holds stakes in Yongan Property Insurance Co., Peak Reinsurance Co. and Pramerica Fosun Life Insurance Co., a joint venture between Fosun and Prudential Financial Inc..

This sale should help Caixa Geral de Depositos repay 1.65 billion euros ($2.24 billion) in government funding received in mid-2012.

The government had a target of mid-2014 to earn money through privatisation to pay back its own bailout funds. State Finance Secretary Manuel Rodrigues said the new sale brings privatisation revenue to 8.1 billion euros, or 47 percent above its goal.

The government is widely expected to privatise flag carrier airline TAP, the cargo unit of the national railway company Comboios de Portugal and parts of water utility Aguas de Portugal, after already selling stakes in two energy firms, the airport concession ANA and postal service CTT.

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