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Zurich to sell entire stake in New China Life
November 20, 2013 / 6:00 PM / 4 years ago

Zurich to sell entire stake in New China Life

HONG KONG/ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance ZURN.VX has sold its remaining stake in New China Life Insurance (NCI) (1336.HK) for $943 million, as it pushes ahead with an attempt to diversify its Asian portfolio.

The logo of Zurich Insurance Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Zurich September 2, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The Swiss insurer said on Wednesday it had offered its 292.5 million shares in NCI, representing a 9.4 percent stake, at a fixed price of HK$25.00 ($3.23) each, in line with earlier figures reported by IFR.

The price is equivalent to a 7.7 percent discount to the company’s closing price on Wednesday.

Zurich said it had sold just over half of its 9.4 percent stake in NCI to cross town rival Swiss Re SRENH.VX, while the remaining 47.7 percent of shares have been sold to undisclosed investors.

It expects the sale to be completed on November 25

In a separate statement, Swiss Re said it had agreed to pay $493 million for the 4.9 percent stake in NCI, the third largest life insurer in China, which offers health and life insurance.

Zurich said the sale was a move to address its financial exposure to a large single holding and that it planned to reinvest the proceeds into other investments in Asia.

“Zurich is very optimistic about the China insurance market and we remain committed to further developing our presence in China and evaluating potential opportunities as they arise,” Geoff Riddell, Zurich’s chairman for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa said in a statement.

HSBC (HSBA.L), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and UBS UBSN.VX are arranging the sale, IFR reported.

Reporting by Fion Lau at IFR, Denny Thomas in Hong Kong and Caroline Copley and Alice Baghdjian in Zurich.; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman

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