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Weekly news through April 7


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Weekly news through April 7

This weekly articleoffers a compilation of noteworthy stories on insurance companies in theAsia-Pacific region. Some items may be linked to third-party articles.

Anbang bounces backfrom failed Starwood bid with new Allianz deal: China's AnbangInsurance Group Co., fresh from a failed bid to acquire , kept its acquisitive streak alive with a new to acquire 's South Koreaninsurance and asset management businesses.

The German insurer will sell andAllianz Global Investors Korea for more than US$3 million. The deal is stillsubject to regulatory approvals.

The Chinese firm's new deal with Allianz is the latest in aseries of high-profile overseas acquisitions. The insurer rose to in 2014 after anumber of international asset acquisitions, including a US$1.95 billion deal tobuy a luxury hotel, the Waldorf Astoria New York. It continued its aggressiveoverseas acquisition spree with a surprise bid for Starwood, which just assuddenly evaporated.

Anbang and its partners had from its pursuit of StarwoodHotels, citing "various market considerations," according to a March31 release. The consortium had initially offered to acquire Starwood for US$76per share and later increased its offer to US$78 per share. The group furtherraised the bid to US$82.75 per share when Marriott International Inc. returned with a higher offerof US$79.53 per share.

The aborted deal has raised questions about the complexity of deals betweenU.S. and Chinese buyers. Well-funded Chinese buyers will still have to overcomeregulations, cultural differences and the residual skepticism that Anbang'sabrupt exit from the Starwood deal may have left behind.

Foreign investorsstill keen on Indian insurance partnerships: Foreign investor interest inIndia's insurance space continued as more overseas partners raised their stakesin their insurance joint ventures in the country after the government raisedthe cap on foreign ownership in local insurance companies to 49%.

MitsuiSumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. raised its stake in Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd. to 40% from26% after buying 41,832,798 equity shares in the Indian joint venture from TubeInvestments of India Ltd.

HousingDevelopment Finance Corp. Ltd. completed the sale of a 9% stake in to its U.K. partner Standard LifePlc. Following the deal, Standard Life's stake in the joint ventureincreased to 35% from 26%.

Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. its stake in to 35% following the acquisition of a 9% stake from

Other M&A updates:Philippine AXA Life InsuranceCorp. completed the acquisition of 100% of fromGT Capital HoldingsInc. for €40 million. The acquisition allows AXA to offer propertyand casualty insurance products alongside its current range of life and savingsproducts.

QBE InsuranceGroup Ltd. sold its 10% stake in Elders Insurance (UnderwritingAgency) Pty. Ltd. back to Australian agribusiness Elders. The purchase price isconfidential and will be funded by Elders from free cash flow.

Meanwhile, Hanwha Corp. plans to sell 200 billion won worth of its shares inHanwha Life Insurance Co.Ltd. to its unlisted construction affiliate. Following the plannedshare sale, Hanwha will own an 18.2% stake in the South Korean insurer.

Life InsuranceCorp. of India acquired a 2% stake in National Stock Exchange of IndiaLtd. from IDBI BankLtd. The bank sold 900,000 equity shares in the exchange.

The following is abreakdown of articles by region, based on the geographic origins of stories.


* Standard & Poor's Ratings Services its outlook on andits units to negative from stable. The negative outlooks on the group and itssubsidiaries reflect the revision of the outlook on China's sovereign ratingsto negative from stable.

* South Korea's Financial Services Commission grantedapproval toU.K.-based Pacific Life ReLtd. to begin operations in the country. The firm will be able toopen a branch in South Korea immediately following the approval.

* MunichRe openedan "innovation lab" in Beijing that will serve as a platform forpossible partnerships with startups. The German reinsurer is looking tointroduce nontraditional products and services in the insurance sector.


* Lloyd's ofLondon plans to apply for a reinsurance branch in Mumbai. The branchwill allow local reinsurance brokers access to Lloyd's underwriting expertiseand its reinsurance solutions.

* Life Insurance Corp. of Bangladesh Ltd. is to begin business operationssoon, after being incorporated in December 2015. LifeInsurance Corp. of India received approval to establish the joint venture inJune 2015.


* S&P affirmed and withdrew its A+ financial strength rating onMalaysia-based Tokio Marine Global Re Asia Ltd. at the company's request.

* Tokio Marine Life Insurance (Thailand) to add 500 sales agents in 2016 toincrease its total sales force to 3,500, according to the company's chiefmarketing officer, Somphot Keitkraival. The company is looking to raise itspremium value to 5.47 billion baht in 2016 from 4.33 billion baht in 2015.

* The Philippines' insurance industry reported a 44.23%year-over-year increase in net income for 2015, BusinessMirror reported.The country's Insurance Commission said the industry's 2015 net income totaled23.67 billion pesos. The life insurance sector contributed the most to thetotal, posting income of 20.38 billion pesos, while the nonlife insurancesector reported net income of 3.28 billion pesos. Insurance Commissioner EmmanuelDooc said the net income outcome could have been larger if income from equityinvestments did not drop in the fourth quarter of 2015 when the stock marketturned bearish.


* A former executive of QBE Insurance Group was to 1.5 years in prisonby a U.S. court for conspiring to embezzle US$2.6 million from the company.James Shea, formerly an executive vice president at the group's North Americanunit, was also ordered to pay back US$1.81 million and jointly pay US$2.65million with a co-defendant as restitution to the insurer.

* LendleaseCorp. Ltd. is in talks with China's Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. as apotential capital partner for the company's development project in CircularQuay, Sydney. The Chinese insurer is reportedly among several parties beingpursued by Lendlease as capital partners for the project.

S&P Ratings andS&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by McGraw Hill Financial Inc.