The most read financial stories in S&P Global Market Intelligence's Asia-Pacific coverage include an update on China's takeover of Anbang Insurance, while editors' picks feature Japanese megabanks' cost-cutting measures after a year of weak earnings.
1. Report: Most of Anbang's assets being moved to new company
Most of Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd.'s businesses are expected to be moved to a new company called Dajia Baoxian in a plan being managed by the industry regulator, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. Investment-type policies sold by Anbang's property insurance unit in excess of government quotas will reportedly not be transferred to the new entity.
2. Prudential Financial increasing stake in Indian asset manager JV
U.S.-based Prudential Financial Inc. is acquiring Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd.'s stake in their 50/50 joint venture, India-based DHFL Pramerica Asset Managers Pvt. Ltd. The asset manager will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial without changes to its business scope following deal closing.
3. Mizuho Financial posts 83.2% YOY decline in fiscal full-year profit
Tokyo-based Mizuho Financial Group Inc. said profit attributable to owners for the fiscal year ended March 31 fell 83.2% year-over-year to ¥96.57 billion from ¥576.55 billion. EPS for the period slipped to ¥3.80 from ¥22.72.
4. Aegon to divest stake in Japan JV with Sony Life for €130M
Dutch insurer Aegon NV has agreed to sell its 50% stake in a variable annuity joint venture in Japan to partner Sony Life Insurance Co. Ltd. for about €130 million. The transaction is likely to be completed by the end of 2019.
5. Report: Chinese regulators offer guarantees on Baoshang Bank deposits, debts
Chinese financial regulators will offer guarantees for at least 70% of the funds owed to certain creditors and corporate depositors of Baoshang Bank Co. Ltd. after taking over the bank in view of severe credit risks, Caixin reported.
1. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Japan's megabanks step up cost cutting, but analysts are still not impressed
Japan's three largest banks — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. — are stepping up cost-cutting measures after another year of weak earnings and elevated costs, but analysts said the banks have been slow compared to their U.S. or European counterparts and seem to lack sufficient urgency in their efforts. The banks have also seen rising cost-to-income ratios since the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2018.
2. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Income weakens at Japanese megabanks in fiscal Q4 amid deepening challenges
Japan's three largest banking groups reported largely weaker earnings for the quarter ended March 31. Margins at the megabanks remained under pressure, with only Sumitomo Mitsui Financial reporting that its net interest margin was unchanged as of the prior fiscal year-end at 0.78%.
3. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: China aims to further reduce funding costs amid renewed trade tensions with US
China's central bank has pledged to further push funding costs lower for the real economy, after lending rates dropped in the first quarter due to policies aimed at freeing up more cash for small and private companies.
4. Q&A: Some Hong Kong banks may not survive wave of virtual lenders: EY
In an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence, Jasmine Lee, partner and Virtual Banking Campaign leader at Ernst & Young in Hong Kong, said some small brick-and-mortar lenders in the city will be at risk of being squeezed out as more virtual lenders enter the industry. Virtual banks may also find themselves struggling as competition among newcomers in the already crowded market could be brutal, according to Lee.
5. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: China's Q1 green bond issuance falls to 2-year low
China's green bond issuance fell to a two-year low in the first quarter despite increased offerings from government-backed issuers. According to Climate Bonds Initiative, Chinese issuers raised US$2.63 billion in green bonds in the three months ended March 31, down 4.3% from US$2.75 billion a year earlier.