CORRECTED-China relaxes M&A rules for insurance industry

Tue Apr 8, 2014 2:13am EDT

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(Corrects to make clear new rules apply to peers with competing product lines)

SHANGHAI, April 8 (Reuters) - Insurers in China, including Chinese-based foreign insurers, will be allowed to buy stakes in more than one peer that competes in the same product lines, according to new rules issued by the Chinese insurance regulator and seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The new regulations aimed at facilitating consolidation in the industry, were published by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) on its website dated last Friday.

Current regulations restrict insurers from buying a stake in more than one peer that markets similar products.

The new rules could see stronger companies investing in their weaker counterparts. (Reporting by Lu Jianxin and Pete Sweeney; Additional reporting by Lawrence White in HONG KONG; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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