China Life eyes stakes in lenders
By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-12 11:37

China Life, the country's largest life insurer, will acquire stakes in unlisted companies, particularly commercial banks and infrastructure companies, a company executive said yesterday.

"We've submitted a list of investment proposals, mainly in unlisted commercial banks and infrastructure firms, to the industry regulator," said Liu Lefei, China Life's chief investment officer.

Liu, however, refused to disclose more details of the proposals.

Yuan Li, the spokesman for the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, had said the State Council has permitted insurance companies to acquire stakes in unlisted companies. Yuan also said detailed rules in this regard are being worked out.

Liu said, for the first time since the beginning of the global financial turmoil, he felt that overseas investment opportunities are now emerging for China Life.

"The uncertainties in the global market are easing and the market will bottom out soon, given the strong commitments by a number of governments to save their economy," said Liu.

The ongoing economic adjustment in China also provides more merger and acquisition opportunities for good companies, he said.

"With some 100 billion yuan ($14.64 billion) cash in hand, we will actively seek such chances," said Liu.

The country's stock market may still take two or three years to turn bullish, he added.

(For more biz stories, please visit Industries)