Ping An to buy 50% stake in Fortis Unit

Updated: 2008-03-20 14:41

Ping An Insurance Group, China's second largest insurer, announced on Wednesday it had agreed to buy half of Belgian financial service provider Fortis's asset-management unit for 2.15 billion euros ($3.4 billion).

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The Shenzhen-based Ping An bought 4.18 percent of Fortis from the stock markets for 1.81 billion euros in November and currently owns 4.99 percent of the company. The purchase, which was an ordinary financial investment, made Ping An the biggest single shareholder of Fortis.

This new deal is expected to help Ping An establish a global business platform for its asset-management and QDII (Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor). It also aims to help Fortis accelerate its business expansion in Asian market.

The deal is yet to be signed and the final agreement is to be submitted for government approval.

Fortis, based in Brussels and the Dutch city of Utrecht, will rename the asset management unit Fortis Ping An Investments. Fortis boosted the size of its money management operations with the 24 billion-euro purchase of ABN Amro Holding NV's fund and Dutch consumer-banking units in 2007.

Ping An won shareholder approval this month to issue about 80 billion yuan worth of shares and 40 billion yuan of convertible bonds.

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