Anbang Insurance Group Co., the acquisitive Chinese insurer that’s scaling back its global empire, is nearing its first major domestic divestment since the government seized control last year, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Anbang is in advanced talks to sell its health-insurance arm to Fujia Group, a petrochemicals-to-finance conglomerate in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, according to the people. Fujia has been negotiating final details of an agreement to buy Hexie Health Insurance Co., though the potential deal could still fall apart, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
A sale of Hexie Health would be the first major local asset sale for Beijing-based Anbang since the government temporarily took over the insurer’s operations and prosecuted its founder with fraud. After gaining renown for a global acquisition spree that included New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Chinese firm said last year it was reviewing all of its overseas assets.
A representative for Anbang declined to comment, while a representative for Dalian-based Fujia said he couldn’t comment. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, which leads the government team overseeing Anbang, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fujia Group was Liaoning province’s biggest private business taxpayer for nine years, according to its website. It operates in retail, real estate, hospitality, petrochemicals and finance. The conglomerate provides financial services through Fubang Capital Holding Co.
Hexie Health provides services ranging from disease management, medical care, disability care, health care and accident insurance in the world’s most populous country. The company’s net income jumped more than fivefold to 2.7 billion yuan ($398 million) in 2016 from the previous year, after revenue from premiums more than tripled, its latest annual report shows.
In addition to a portfolio of luxury hotels, Anbang owns Antwerp-based insurer Fidea, Dutch insurer Vivat and Belgian lender Nagelmackers. Bloomberg News reported in October that Cerberus Capital Management LP, Swiss Re AG and Temasek Holdings Pte were among parties that have held preliminary discussions about buying a stake in Anbang.