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Chubb to buy added stake in China's Huatai Insurance for 10.8b yuan

[BEIJING] Insurer Chubb Ltd said on Monday it will buy up to an additional 22.4 per cent stake in Chinese insurer Huatai Insurance Group Co Ltd for 10.8 billion yuan (S$2.09 billion), as it looks to bank on a rapidly growing sector in the country.

Chubb, which already holds nearly 27 per cent stake in Huatai, said it would first buy 15.1 per cent and then an additional 7.1 per cent stake based on the completion of the first contingent.

The Chinese insurance market has seen fast growth in recent years, becoming an attractive market for foreign companies seeking new sources of growth and revenue.

In March, Chubb raised its stake in Huatai to 26.2 per cent, following an approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, marking the first time a domestic Chinese financial services company converted to a so-called "Sino-foreign joint venture."

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Last year, Beijing set an agenda to open up its financial sector and has been taking steps to relax foreign ownership in life insurance and asset-management joint ventures.

"We are committed to supporting Huatai as a long-term strategic shareholder and we have great confidence in the long-term potential of the Chinese insurance market," said Evan Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Chubb.

Chubb will buy Huatai shares from its shareholders, Chinese chemicals maker Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy and Chemical Group Co Ltd, and one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

REUTERS