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AXA obtains CIRC approval to sell 15.6% stake in Taikang Life

AXA’s wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary, AXA Life has received an approval from China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to sell its entire 15.6% stake in Chinese life insurer Taikang Life to a consortium of new and existing shareholders.

The consideration for this transaction amounts to $1.2bn, which corresponds to implied 2009 multiples of 21x net earnings and 6x book value.

This transaction is expected to generate a positive impact of ca. EUR0.8bn in Net Income and reduce debt gearing by 1 point in the first half of 2011.

AXA continues to actively develop its life insurance business in China through AXA-Minmetals, its joint venture with Minmetals Corporation.

As announced on October 28, 2010, and pending regulatory approvals, this company will be transformed into ICBC-AXA, a joint venture with the largest Chinese bank by assets and clients.

This joint venture will be the vehicle for AXA’s growth in the Chinese Life insurance sector.

The sale of AXA’s interest in Taikang Life, which was acquired through the Winterthur transaction in 2006, is motivated principally by Chinese regulatory positions restricting the ability of foreign investors to hold multiple interests in the Chinese life insurance sector.

The completion of the transaction is subject to obtaining other CIRC approvals which are pending.