Hong Kong Life owners revive sale after failed deal

Hong Kong Life owners revive sale after failed deal
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(Jan 22): The owners of Hong Kong Life Insurance Ltd. are reviving a sale of the business after a deal was scrapped more than two years ago, according to people familiar with the matter.

A sale of Hong Kong Life, whose owners include OCBC Wing Hang Bank Ltd., could fetch $400 million to $500 million, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Citigroup Inc. is helping find a buyer for the business, which has drawn preliminary interest from other insurers, the people said.

This would mark at least the third attempt by the owners to exit the business, the people said. A previous agreement to sell the operations to investment fund First Origin International Ltd. for $914 million was terminated in 2018 because closing conditions had not been satisfied.

Intense competition in Hong Kong’s insurance market, along with economic instability amid local politics and the Covid-19 pandemic, have weighed on the valuation of the company, the people said.

Founded in 2001, Hong Kong Life provides insurance products from life policies to medical and retirement plans, according to its website. Its owners also include Asia Insurance Co., Chong Hing Bank Ltd., CMB Wing Lung Bank Ltd. and Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd.

Considerations are still preliminary and the owners could decide to keep the business, the people said. A representative for Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., OCBC Wing Hang’s parent, declined to comment, while a representative for Citigroup also declined to comment. Representatives for Asia Insurance, Chong Hing Bank, Hong Kong Life and Shanghai Commercial Bank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.