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Japainese life insurer buys Ping An stake
( 2003-11-17 15:11) (Agencies)

Japan's second-largest life insurer Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co has bought a 1-percent stake in Ping An Insurance ahead of the Shenzhen-based company's expected US$1.5 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong next year.

Dai-ichi's purchase of the Ping An stake was completed earlier this year, but had been kept secret at Dai-ichi's request, the South China Morning Post reported Saturday, quoting a Ping An spokesman.

Both Dai-ichi and Ping An declined to reveal the purchase price, the paper said.

The 101-year-old Dai-ichi is the fourth foreign strategic investor in Ping An. HSBC Holdings, Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley control a combined 23.7 percent of Ping An, which is China's second-largest life insurer as well as the country's third-largest non-life insurer.

HSBC paid US$600 million for a 10 percent stake in Ping An, valuing the company at US$6 billion, the paper said.

China has required foreign investment in domestic insurers be capped at 25 percent.

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