Chinese Firm Buys Half Of Fortis’ Asset Management Biz

Mar 19 2008 | 4:34pm ET

The asset management arm of Belgium’s biggest financial company Fortis has agreed to sell 50% of itself to Ping An Insurance Company of China for $3.4 billion. 

The deal is aimed at helping Ping An to establish a global asset management business while at the same time helping Fortis to accelerate the development of its business in both China and the Asia Pacific.

According to both firms, Fortis Investments will be re-branded Fortis Ping An Investments. The board of the new company will be comprised of 12 directors, and the senior management will remain unchanged. The current strategy of Fortis Investments is reportedly fully supported by both shareholders.

Both firms released a statement saying they believe that the partnership will result in a higher long term growth rate and a greater quality and diversity of earnings. Fortis Ping An Investments will continue to be consolidated by Fortis.

Fortis Investments has approximately €23 million in CDO and CLO exposure as at Dec. 31, 2007. Fortis has agreed to fully indemnify Ping An against any impairment in their value.

Last November, Ping An acquired a 4.18% equity stake in Fortis, which has subsequently been raised to 4.99%. Since then, both firms have explored several areas of potential business cooperation, with asset management taking priority.

The transaction remains subject to final agreements and regulatory approvals.

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