Insurance survey: Ping An
In January 2008, Ping An announced a large domestic fund-raising plan: 1.2 billion new Shanghai-listed A shares – 14% of its expanded capital – and $5.7 billion of convertible bonds with warrants. This was the biggest domestic offering in Chinese history.
It was approved by shareholders in March but still awaits regulatory approval. But Ping An might reduce the size of the fund-raising because of regulatory concerns that the market cannot finance such a large offering.
The amount of capital is probably too big for the acquisition of a rival domestic insurer or asset manager, so there was speculation that the target would be an insurer or bank in a similar foreign market. On March 19 2008, Ping An announced an intention to acquire a 50% equity stake in Fortis Investments. The new partnership will advance Ping An’s strategy to establish a global asset management business and a qualified domestic institutional investor platform.
There is also a rumour that Prudential, an insurance company headquartered in the UK, is a takeover target.