* U.S. insurer offers $1.39 billion for AFP Cuprum
* Chilean regulator previously approved planned takeover
* High returns attract investors to Chilean pension business
SANTIAGO, Dec 27 U.S. insurer and asset manager
Principal Financial Group launched a bid on Thursday to
buy Chilean pension company AFP Cuprum for $1.39
billion as part of an expansion drive in emerging markets.
Principal Financial agreed in October to use a public tender
to buy Cuprum, including a 63 percent stake held by financial
groups Empresas Penta and Inversiones Banpenta.
The U.S. insurer and asset manager offered 36,698.44 pesos
for each of Cuprum's 17,996,300 shares, Principal Financial said
in an advertisement in a local newspaper.
The success of the takeover bid, which starts Dec. 28 and
ends Jan. 28, hinges on at least 63.44 percent of Cuprum's
shares being sold to Principal Financial.
Chile's pension funds regulator has given the green light to
the planned takeover of Cuprum, which has $32.7 billion in
assets under management.
Cuprum shares were up 0.52 percent on the Santiago Stock
Exchange at 39,000 in early trade on Thursday, outpacing the
blue-chip IPSA's mild 0.05 percent increase.
Chile's private pension fund system has attracted investor
attention due to high returns and robust local economic growth.
Medellin, Colombia-based Grupo Sura paid more than $3.5
billion last year for the regional assets of ING Groep NV
, including Chilean pension fund AFP Capital.