(Yicai Global) Dec. 3 -- Tongchuangjiuding Investment Management Group, known as Jiuding Group, intends to sell all of FTLife Insurance, which it bought for HKD10.7 billion (USD1.4 billion) in cash in 2015.
Group unit Ageas Asia Holdings will sell FTLife, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ageas Asia Holdings, to focus on its investment business, Beijing-based Jiuding said in a statement on Nov. 27. The financial giant added that it is contacting potential investors, with the buyer and price yet to be determined. Media speculation about potential buyers and the sale price are not in line with the truth, it added.
Bidders include Hong Kong's Chow Tai Fook Jewelry, Canada's Sun Life Financial, Asian alternative asset manager PAG and a Japanese insurance company, according to media reports. A deal could valueFTLife at more than USD3 billion, Bloomberg said on Nov. 22, citing people familiar with the matter.
The sudden decision to sell its largest insurance business, one of Hong Kong's biggest life insurance firms, has caught market participants by surprise. In March, Jiuding said it would take its insurance investment seriously.
The sale of FTLife will allow the firm to focus more on its investment business and core competences, according to state-backed Securities Times, which cited a company insider.
"Though Jiuding Group has obtained some financial licenses in recent years, it started off as an investment firm. It is involved in many projects, some of which are operated and controlled by the Group while in others it just owns a stake," the source said. "Whether the Group will quit these projects mainly depends on market conditions and investment returns."
In response to a question whether the focus on investment means the group will also quit the insurance business on the Chinese mainland, the insider said that also depends on market conditions.
Market participants once described Jiuding's financial sector business as "full financial licenses." Besides Jiuding Capital, a listed company focusing on the private equity investment sector, the firm also owns other units with various licenses, including for securities, insurance, public funds, private equities and payments.
Besides the insurance business in Hong Kong, Jiuding is also looking to sell its majority stake in JZ Securities.