S&PGlobal Market Intelligence's most read financial stories in the Asia-Pacificregion feature Anbang Insurance's decision to drop its bid for Starwood, whileeditors' picks include a story on Japanese banks' falling stock prices afterthe Bank of Japan introduced negative interest rates.
1. Moody's: Driverless cars to dent insurers' profitability in longterm
Moody's expects driverless cars to boost insurers'profits in the medium term, but could also lower their profitability in thelong term. The agency expects that new technologies applied in cars will resultto a decline in the number of accidents, increasing insurers' profitability inthe next five to 10 years. However, Moody's also noted that fewer accidentswould translate to lower premiums.
2. Anbang Insurance reduced offer for Fidelity & Guaranty Lifeafter due diligence, filing reveals
AnbangInsurance Group Co. initially offered to acquire forUS$28.00 per share but reduced the total purchase price by about US$70 millionto reflect the final outcome of its due diligence review, a regulatory filingrevealed.
3. Anbang group cites market factors in walking away from Starwoodbid
Anbang Insurance and its partners said they will nolonger pursue an earlier plan to take over Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., confirmingearlier reports. The Chinese insurer, J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC and PrimaveraCapital Ltd. cited "various market considerations" as reasons fortheir decision to back out of their proposed bid.
4. Report: Credit Suisse names FIG vice chairman
CreditSuisse Group AG named Patrick Porritt as vice chairman of itsfinancial institutions group, set to start in April. The firm also namedJeffrey Cohen as vice chairman of its retail and consumer products division.
5. CTBCBank to buy 35.6% of Thailand's LH Financial Group
CTBCFinancial Holding Co. Ltd. said CTBC Bank Co. Ltd.'s board approved plans to acquire a35.6% stake in Thailand's LH FinancialGroup PCL for 16.60 billion baht (US$469.5 million). Thetransaction is expected to increase CTBC Bank's overseas revenue and expand itscustomer coverage and overseas business.
1. Banking on Asia: Chinese banks' profit en route tocontraction
Industry veteran Daniel Tabbush believes Chinese bankswill face greater impact from the underlying weak economy, with yet higher badloans and more associated impairment costs in 2017. Tabbush made his commentsamid nearly flat full-year results at the banks, which he also said could havebeen in discussions with one another to be in concert on their reported figures.
2. HongKong fintech firm aims to generate bigger returns for cash-richcorporates
As large corporates in Asia amass vast funds that sitin deposit accounts, a Hong Kong-based fintech startup has devised a solutionthat both puts this money to work for a return, while supplying cash-strappedsupply companies with needed funds. Finocap Group has developed a system tomatch cash surpluses with supplier companies' invoices to produce a"return" above a standard fixed deposit or current account at banks.
3. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: Combined fiscal Q3 profit at top Japanese life insurersrises, aided by industry leaders
Combined earnings at the top four private sector lifeinsurers in Japan climbed in the fiscal third quarter from a year earlier,buoyed by sharp gains at the two biggest companies. In the three months to Dec.31, 2015, total net income at Nippon Life Insurance Co., ,Meiji Yasuda Life InsuranceCo. and Sumitomo LifeInsurance Co. grew year over year to ¥278.66 billion, according toan S&P Global Market Intelligence calculation based on year-to-date resultsreported by the companies.
4. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: Japanese megabank stocks falter amid negative ratewoes
Shares in the three biggest banks in Japan are reelingfrom the country's surprise policy decision to adopt negative interest rates,as the move amplifies concerns about their profit prospects. On Feb. 12, afterthe Jan. 29 decision by the Bankof Japan to impose a 0.1% fee on some deposits, shares in the threeJapanese megabanks — MitsubishiUFJ Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and —reached the lowest levels since December 2012. At the close of trading thatday, they were at the widest discounts to book value in five years.
5. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: Top Australian insurers' 6-month profit hit byinvestment income drop
Combined net income at the top four listed insurers inAustralia dropped in the six months to Dec. 31, 2015, from a year earlier, hitby a drop in investment gains. Aggregate net income at , Suncorp Group Ltd., QBE Insurance Group Ltd. and , fellyear over year to A$1.74 billion from A$2.11 billion in six-month period. AMPwas alone in boosting earnings during the period.
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