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Prudential PLC eyeing M&A in Asian insurance, asset management market

Prudential PLC is eyeing acquisitions and distribution partnerships with lenders in Asia, Nic Nicandrou, CEO of the company's Asia operations, told Reuters.

"We are agency-focused in those markets, but we would love to do more on the distribution side," Nicandrou said of those such as Indonesia and Vietnam. "We are on the lookout for right partners," he added, while noting that there were not many sellers in the market.

Nicandrou said in response to media reports of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.'s interest in buying Prudential's Asia business that the U.K.-based company had received no offers. In China, Prudential has a 50/50 partnership with CITIC Group Corp. in CITIC Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

He also said the company's Eastspring asset management business had applied to manage nonretail funds in China and expected to receive a license within the fourth quarter. He suggested the potential for "team lift-outs and bolt-on M&A there to ... get a bigger share of the asset management market in China."

Prudential is also reportedly bidding to acquire Commonwealth Bank of Australia's 80% stake in its Indonesian insurance venture, PT Commonwealth Life. The company is dividing its operations in two, with the U.K. and Europe business to become part of a new London-listed M&G Prudential entity and Prudential PLC to focus on the U.S. and Asia.