November 20, 2013 / 11:41 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Zurich to sell entire stake in New China Life

* Zurich sells $943 mln worth of shares in New China Life

* Swiss Re buys 152.9 mln shares for $493 mln

* Remainder of stake sold to undisclosed investors

* Zurich plans to reinvest proceeds into more Asian investments (Adds confirmation of price, details of sale of part of stake to Swiss Re)

HONG KONG/ZURICH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance has sold its remaining stake in New China Life Insurance (NCI) for $943 million, as it pushes ahead with an attempt to diversify its Asian portfolio.

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, while the remaining 47.7 percent of shares have been sold to undisclosed investors.

It expects the sale to be completed on Nov. 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, Goldman Sachs and UBS 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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