The Straits Times
Published on Oct 11, 2012

AIA to buy ING's Malaysian unit for $2.12b


HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Pan Asian insurer AIA Group Ltd has agreed to buy ING's Malaysian insurance operations for US$1.73 billion ($2.12 billion) in cash, handing the Dutch financial services firm its first deal in a nine-month drive to sell off Asian assets.

The sale of the Malaysian unit is expected to be followed soon by the divestment of ING's Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand units, as the bailed-out Dutch financial firm offloads assets to repay US$12.9 billion in state aid received during the 2008 financial crisis.

For AIA, the purchase of the Malaysian operations marks its second M&A deal in less than a month, and gives it a leading position in the fast growing Southeast Asian economy.

AIA was spun out of US insurer AIG in 2010 through a US$20.5 billion IPO, and Hong Kong-based CEO Mark Tucker has been re-building the business after it lost agents and market share amid AIG's near collapse during the financial crisis.