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Fairfax to cut India JV stake; Chinese insurer to revive IPO plan

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 developments

* Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. agreed to sell part of its stake in India-based ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. to three companies, including one owned by private equity funds managed by Warburg Pincus LLC. Fairfax Financial, which owns a 35% stake in ICICI Lombard, is selling the partial 12.8% stake in order to start a new general insurance joint venture in India.

* South Korea's Mirae Asset Life Insurance Co. Ltd. plans to merge with PCA Life Insurance Co. Ltd. by early 2018, a spokesman of the company said, denying a local media report that Mirae Asset Life will complete the merger process in August.

* Thai Reinsurance PCL extended its offer to acquire the remaining 51% stake in EMCS Thai Co. Ltd. to June 30 from May 31.

Earnings, dividends

* Japan's Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd. reported a 24% drop in net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31. The insurer's net profit fell to ¥8.14 billion from ¥10.71 billion.

* AXA Life Insurance Co. Ltd. said its net profit for the fiscal year rose to ¥15.84 billion from ¥12.65 billion in the prior fiscal year.

* China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. lowered its final dividend for 2016 to 24 Chinese fen per share from 42 fen per share in 2015.

* Central Reinsurance Corp. cut its dividend for 2016 to 5 Taiwanese cents per share from the prior-year dividend of 7 cents per share.

Ratings actions

* Moody's upgraded the ratings outlook of BOC Group Life Assurance Co. Ltd. to stable from negative and affirmed its ratings following revising Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd.'s outlook to stable.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed the ratings of Australia-based QBE Insurance Group Ltd. and its core operating units, with positive outlooks.

* S&P affirmed China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co. Ltd.'s ratings with a stable outlook, but lowered the group's credit profile. The agency also affirmed the ratings of the group's core units Taiping General Insurance Co. Ltd., China Taiping Insurance (HK) Co. Ltd. and Taiping Reinsurance Co. Ltd.

In other news

* Chinese internet insurer Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance is reportedly looking to resume its Hong Kong IPO plan to raise at least US$1 billion.

* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service plans to implement new regulations aimed at pushing local insurers to boost their risk-based capital ratios in stages, BuisnessKorea reported. The move aims to prepare insurers for the new international accounting standards, set for 2021, which will increase the amount of debt on their balance sheets.

* The China Insurance Regulatory Commission will set up a solvency supervision experts consulting panel and is looking to tap external veterans to be part of the committee.

* China Life Insurance agreed to an investment partnership with Manulife Asset Management, the first such tie-up for the Chinese insurer.

* Australia's competition watchdog started legal proceedings against Nib Holdings Ltd. unit NIB Health Funds Ltd. for allegedly engaging in misleading conduct and making false representations to its members.

* Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd. CEO Joos Louwerier has decided to leave the company to pursue a new career opportunity outside South Korea. CFO Sun Lei was nominated as Louwerier's successor.

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