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Chinese insurer gains footing in S. Korea through M&As

All Headlines 10:42 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- China's Anbang Insurance Group has gained footing in South Korea's insurance market by acquiring two local insurers over the past year, industry people said Friday.

Anbang Insurance became the first Chinese insurer to advance into the domestic insurance market by acquiring a controlling 63-percent stake in Tongyang Life Insurance Co. for 1.13 trillion won (US$973 million) last year. This week, Anbang purchased a 100-percent stake in Allianz Life Insurance Korea Co. from German insurer Allianz for about 3.5 billion won.

The combined assets of the two acquired companies reached 39.2 trillion won, ranking fifth among life insurers here after Samsung Life Insurance, Hanwha Life, Kyobo Life Insurance and NongHyup Life Insurance Co.

Anbang's aggressive M&A push has reignited worries that the acquisition of a local financial firm by a foreign player, particularly in emerging markets, could lead to transfers of advanced know-how and technology in the financial industry.

As for chances it might bid for other local financial firms, Anbang said, "It cannot provide its future business strategies."

Anbang, China's fifth-biggest and the world's 10th-largest insurer, has expanded itself through M&As since it began operations as an auto insurer in the Zhejiang Province in 2004.

In the past 1.5 years, it has acquired at least $23 billion worth of assets ranging from hotels and banks to insurers globally.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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