Chinese insurer Anbang denies report that chairman not able to leave China

Chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Wu Xiaohui attends the China Development Forum in Beijing, China March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd [ANBANG.UL], is free to travel, a spokesman for the Chinese insurer said on Friday, denying a report that Wu had been prevented from leaving China.

The Financial Times reported that Wu had been stopped from leaving the country, citing four sources who have had business dealings with him.

Anbang has emerged as one of China’s most aggressive buyers of overseas assets in the past two years, spending more than $30 billion acquiring luxury hotels, insurers and other property assets.

But Anbang has faced increasing pushback in its offshore deal-making, amid a broader decline in Chinese outbound acquisitions, as Beijing strengthens curbs over capital outflows to prevent potential shocks to its financial system.

The Chinese insurer ditched its attempt last year to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc for $14 billion, walking away from its most high-profile deal.

In April this year, U.S. annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL) FGL.N terminated its $1.6 billion agreement to be acquired by the Chinese insurer after Anbang failed to secure all the necessary regulatory approvals.

A month earlier, Anbang and the Kushner Companies, the real estate firm until recently headed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said they had ended talks to redevelop a New York office tower.

Reporting by Matthew Miller; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Alexander Smith