Business / Markets

ABC's stake in insurance firm approved

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-21 14:11

BEIJING - The Agricultural Bank of China, the country's fourth-largest lender, said on Wednesday that it has got the regulatory nod to purchase a 51-percent stake in Jiahe Life Insurance Co for 2.59 billion yuan ($411.11 million).

The bank has received approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission and China Securities Regulatory Commission to buy the stake, according to a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Jiahe Life, founded in 2005, has operations in 15 cities and provinces across the country.

The ABC was the last among China's five largest commercial banks to enter the insurance market. Lenders have invested in insurers in recent years as they have become eager to boost profits by diversifying business portfolios and building financial conglomerates.

In September 2009, the Bank of Communications received regulatory approval to buy into an insurance joint venture involving the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

One year later, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the biggest lender by market value, bought a 60-percent stake in AXA-Minmetals Assurance Co for 1.2 billion yuan.

The ABC's shares edged up 0.39 percent to 2.58 yuan at 10:40 am Wednesday in Shanghai.

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