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AIA not in talks for Malaysia unit stake; Another Indian insurer files for IPO

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 updates

* AIA Group Ltd. CEO and President Ng Keng Hooi said the company is not in talks to reduce its stake in its Malaysian unit. Speculation about AIA reducing its stake surfaced after Malaysia's central bank directed foreign insurers to reduce their holdings in local units to 70% by the end of June 2018.

* Taiwan's First Financial Holding Co. Ltd. agreed to acquire Aviva International Holdings Ltd.'s entire 49% stake in joint venture First-Aviva Life Insurance Co. Ltd. First Financial said the deal will allow it to boost its life insurance business.

* Muang Thai Insurance PCL will increase its investment in Laos joint venture ST-Muang Thai Insurance Co. Ltd. by US$714,227. The company said it will buy 80,000 shares of ST-Muang Thai Insurance from Muang Thai Holding Co. Ltd. and purchase 218,181 newly issued shares of the Laos insurer.

IPO corner

* Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. filed draft papers for its proposed IPO with India's securities regulator. The insurer plans to sell 16.77 million new shares in the IPO, while Reliance Capital Ltd., the insurer's parent, plans to sell 50.3 million shares.

* Life Insurance Corp. of India placed a major bid for shares of General Insurance Corp. of India's IPO, pushing the institutional and overall portions of the float to become respectively oversubscribed and substantially subscribed on the first day of issuance. LIC placed a bid for shares worth between 70 billion rupees and 80 billion rupees.

* General Insurance, India's largest reinsurer, is looking to raise about 113.70 billion rupees in the listing, with shares priced at between 855 rupees and 912 rupees each.

* Moody's said the IPOs of SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. are credit positive for their respective parents, State Bank of India and ICICI Bank Ltd. because the proceeds will allow the banks to strengthen their loss-absorbing buffers.

In other news

* The China Insurance Regulatory Commission barred five life insurance companies from transacting with its shareholders or related parties for six months. The regulator found issues at Bohai Life Insurance Co. Ltd. relating to the operations of the board of directors and the supervisory board. The CIRC also found issues in the operations of the board at Sunshine Life Insurance Corp. Ltd.

* AIA Group entered into a 15-year bancassurance agreement with Thailand's Bangkok Bank PCL. The bank will distribute AIA Thailand's protection and long-term savings products to its customers on an exclusive basis.

* People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. unit PICC Pension Co. Ltd. obtained approval from China's insurance regulator to start operations. PICC Pension has a capital of 4 billion yuan and will operate in Beijing.

* SBI Life Insurance plans to open its Bahrain branch by December.

* MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. said its group companies incurred estimated pretax losses of ¥70 billion to ¥110 billion in the aggregate due to hurricanes in North America and the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico in August and September.

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