Anbang picks JP Morgan to handle Vivat sale

Insurer looking to offload up to US$10 billion in overseas assets

Anbang picks JP Morgan to handle Vivat sale

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Anbang Insurance Group has selected JP Morgan to manage the sale of its Dutch insurance arm Vivat, which is valued at between US$1.6 billion to US$2 billion.

The controversial insurer, which was taken over by the Chinese government in February, is considering selling off its overseas assets, including Belgian insurer Fidea, a report by Reuters said.

JP Morgan was picked after Anbang gathered pitches from various banks in August, the report said, citing two sources familiar with the matter.  However, a spokesperson for Anbang said that the review of Vivat is still incomplete, and a final decision would be based on the results of the review. He declined to give further comments.

According to the sources, Anbang is looking to offload its overseas properties, which could be worth up to US$10 billion, in order to improve its finances following the government takeover-cum-rescue.

Investment banks UBS and CICC have wider roles advising Anbang’s restructuring endeavours, but sources say Anbang wanted more independent advice regarding its European divestments, hence the search for another adviser.

Two Dutch insurers, Aegon and ASR, said that they are aware of a possible Vivat sale, and both companies indicated that they are considering making bids.

Vivat is the insurance arm of SNS Reaal, which was nationalised by the Dutch government in 2013, which was acquired by Anbang for a nominal €1, with a capital infusion of €1.35 billion. Under the Vivat umbrella are personal life insurer Reaal, corporate life insurance and pension provider Zwitserleven, and investment firm Actiam, with over €54 billion of assets under management.

However, Anbang’s foreign expansion efforts were derailed after the Chinese government convicted former Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui for fraud and embezzlement charges, sentencing him to 18 years in prison.

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