China's revamped Anbang Group nears decision on introducing strategic investors

A file photo taken on Feb 23, 2018 shows the company flag of Anbang Insurance Group and the Chinese national flag fly outside its headquarters in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's banking and insurance regulator said on Saturday (Feb 22) it had finished running Anbang Insurance Group, and the revamped entity Dajia Insurance Group was close to a decision on introducing a batch of strategic investors.

The Chinese government took control of high-flying Anbang in February 2018, as part of a sweeping campaign to reduce financial risk in the aftermath of a massive asset-buying spree by a handful of private-sector conglomerates.

Dajia Insurance Group, a new company formed to take over assets from Anbang, will remain privately owned, China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said in a statement, without revealing the name of new investors.

"The decision (of introducing strategic investors) has been made after screening candidates from good quality private firms, and multiple rounds of negotiations," the regulator said.

"As Dajia Insurance is now capable of operating as normal, the CBIRC now claims to end its takeover by law."

Chinese authorities sentenced Anbang's ex-chairman Wu Xiaohui to 18 years in prison for fundraising fraud and embezzlement. It speeded up asset sales of Anbang after the takeover "to limit the loss caused by illegal activities of Wu", the CBIRC said.

Some 1.5 trillion yuan of risky short-term insurance previously sold by Anbang have all been paid out without missed payments or defaults, it added, while most of the non-core financial assets under Anbang Group have been divested, including its stake in Hexie Health Insurance, according to CBIRC.

Anbang is also selling its stakes in Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank, it added, a key financial asset once controlled and misused by Anbang to channel credits and funds.

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