Anbang Insurance Group mulls bid for Hong Kong 's Wing Hang Bank- sources

November 28
3:57 AM 2013

Sources told Bloomberg that Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group is thinking of making an offer for Wing Hang Bank Ltd. Anbang provides insurance and asset management services while Wing Hang is the second largest family-run bank in Hong Kong.

One of the people with knowledge of the matter said Anbang had already held discussions for the purchase of the 45% stake owned by members of the family of Chairman Patrick Fung as well as its affiliates and the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Two of the sources said Canada-based Bank of Nova Scotia had also expressed interest for Wing Hang, which had a market value of USD 4.3 billion. They spoke on the condition of anonymity since the deliberations were private.

However, a press official from Anbang told Bloomberg by phone that the insurance firm has no current intention to purchase Wing Hang. The official declined to be named due to company policy.

Last month, sources also revealed that Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp was also mulling a bid for the family-run lender. Data gathered by Boomberg showed that Wing Hang is currently trading at 1.6 times its book value while smaller lender Dah Sing Banking Group Ltd is trading at 1.1 times.

Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Ltd analyst Grace Wu told Bloomberg in a phone interview, "Hong Kong's status as the primary offshore renminbi center offers strategic value for financial institutions. Hong Kong banks offer immediate access to China's banking market, and ones like Wing Hang and Dah Sing also offer sizable Macau operations."

Bloomberg reported that potential acquirers were attracted to family-run banks in Hong Kong as the role of the city in cross-border financing continues to grow. Smaller banks were also faced with stiff competition from bigger lenders like HSBC Holdings Plc and Bank of China Ltd. Last month, a majority stake in Chong Hing Bank Ltd was purchased by Yue Xiu Group, making it the first acquisition of a Hong Kong bank after four years.

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