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Australia's IAG planning no more China investment

[SYDNEY] Insurance Australia Group Ltd , the country's largest general insurer, said on Thursday it plans to halt further investments in China, reversing a strategy it said it was persevering with just two months earlier.

In a three-sentence statement, the insurer 3.7 per cent owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc said that "after completing signifcant work on assessing the opportunities available, IAG has determined not to pursue further investment in China".

Retiring Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilkins added that while the company believes "in the fundamentals of China, our future focus will be on pursuing growth opportunities in our other Asian markets and our core businesses in Australia and New Zealand".

The decision marks a significant shift since Mr Wilkins's Aug 21 remarks that the company was eyeing ways to achieve a national presence in China as it scaled back its investment in a regional Chinese insurer.

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The company then posted a 41 per cent drop in annual net profit and cut its dividend in August due to record claim costs from storms in Australia.

A week ago, the company said Mr Wilkins will leave the company in early 2016.

REUTERS

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