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Aviva explores options for Asian business; FWD eyes China expansion

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

M&A corner

* The shareholders of Singapore-based reinsurer ACR Capital Holdings Pte. Ltd. revived the sale process for a majority stake in the reinsurer about three to four months ago and have engaged Morgan Stanley to run the process, DealStreetAsia reported.

* U.K.-based Aviva PLC is exploring strategic options, including a possible sale, for its Asian business, The Business Times (Singapore) reported. The insurer's Asian business could be valued at about US$3 billion to US$4 billion.

* Australia's AUB Group Ltd. entered into a conditional agreement with Pemba Capital Partners Pty Ltd. to acquire its 49% interest in Sydney-based insurance broker Coverforce Holdings Pty Ltd.

* Malaysia-based RHB Bank Bhd. obtained Bank Negara Malaysia's approval to begin talks regarding the sale of its 94.7% equity interest in RHB Insurance Bhd. to Tokio Marine Asia Pte. Ltd.

* Australia's Steadfast Group Ltd. entered into a bid implementation agreement with IBNA Ltd. to launch an off-market takeover bid for up to 100% of fully paid IBNA ordinary shares.

* Willis Towers Watson PLC has acquired Australia-based Risk Capital Advisors Pty. Ltd., which offers insurance advisory and brokerage services, specializing in warranty and indemnity insurance and other specialist M&A products such as tax and environmental.

Earnings guidance

* Australia's AUB Group Ltd. completed the investigation into the impact of the misconduct and remediation work is in the final stages, saying the full-year impact of the misconduct case is expected to be A$4.6 million.

* China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. estimated its net profit attributable to equity holders will rise between approximately 18.89 billion yuan and 22.17 billion yuan in the first half compared to the prior-year period.

* New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. estimates net profit attributable to shareholders for the six months ended June 30 to increase by 4.64 billion yuan, or about 80% from the prior-year period.

* Japan's Sony Financial Holdings Inc. said its preliminary net profit attributable to owners of the parent increased to ¥24.0 billion, or ¥55.20 per share, from actual profit of ¥20.0 billion, or ¥46.15 per share, in the prior-year period.

In other news

* Hong Kong-based insurance firm FWD is seeking a license to launch its operations in China, Reuters reported.

* Suncorp Group Ltd. stopped underwriting insurance for new thermal coal mines or power plants and will phase out all exposure to coal by 2025.

* U.S.-based Aflac Inc. CEO Dan Amos anticipates "some softness" in Japan sales due to publicity surrounding recent reports of mismanaged life policies. Amos' comments came after Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd. was accused of charging thousands of customers double premiums for life insurance in July.

* The company also pushed back some recent media reports that Japan Post Co. was close to implementing a temporary suspension of sales of private insurance at post offices after recently discovered mismanagement of insurance policies.

* AUB Group announced a restructure of A&I Member Services Pty. Ltd. with the objective of expanding its scope.