Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd, China's second-largest life insurer, is seeking help from the Chinese government to claim compensation of the 4.81 percent stake investment loss in Fortis, Belgium's largest financial services group, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
According to the insider, the issue was no longer "a pure business transaction" when the Belgian government acquired 51 percent of Fortis's banking assets with 4.7 billion euros ($5.96 billion) early October and later sold its 75 percent stake in Fortis to BNP Paribas, which purchased Fortis's Belgian insurance business for 5.7 billion euros.
The Belgian government established a special fund to share part of the profits from the sale with Fortis's EU-based shareholders though Ping An Insurance was excluded, which triggered the insurer's compensation claim.
"This special fund is only suitable for the EU-based small shareholders", said Ping An spokesman Sheng Ruisheng, without giving any comments on whether the company is seeking help from the Chinese government or not.
Ping An's forecast losses largely result from its third quarter book value loss of 15.7 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) stemming from its investment in the Belgian-Dutch financial services company.
The value of its 23.87 billion yuan investment in Fortis shrunk 96 percent since it first invested in October 2007, although the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg injected 11.2 billion euros to Fortis this September.