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Great Eastern to sell stake in Malaysian ops for US$1b: report

SINGAPORE insurer Great Eastern Holdings Ltd is planning to dispose of its stake in its Malaysian operations for US$1 billion, said a report in Malaysian newspaper, The Star, on Wednesday.

The report, which quoted The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), said the insurer has engaged a Malaysian bank to discuss the potential deal.

Foreign insurers such as Prudential plc of the UK and Tokio Marine Holdings of Japan were also said to be in discussion to dispose of their stakes in their respective Malaysian subsidiaries ahead of the Malaysian central bank June 2018 deadline requiring a 30 per cent local ownership, aimed at increasing local participation in the industry.

The WSJ said both Prudential and Tokio Marine planned to sell close to a third of the shares in their Malaysian units. These deals could potentially raise US$3 billion collectively over the next nine months.

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The Star said various reports pointed to Malaysian institutional funds such as the Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Bhd as potential buyers of stakes that would be disposed of by foreign insurers.

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