Ping An top HSBC shareholder

Top News | Avery Chen 7 Nov 2018

China's largest insurer Ping An has surpassed BlackRock as the biggest shareholder of HSBC -with 1.42 billion or 7.01 percent of shares - after buying 5.37 million shares on November 1, according to shareholding disclosures from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

But Ping An chairman and chief executive Peter Ma Mingzhe said: "As of now, we don't have aspirations to make acquisitions overseas. The Chinese market has the best growth prospects."

The financial services conglomerate, which has a market capitalization of more than US$170 billion (HK$1.33 trillion), has been linked to a number of possible merger-and-acquisition targets.

They include Prudential's Asian life insurance business, which analysts value at more than 37 billion (HK$379.44 billion), and Commonwealth Bank of Australia's general insurance business.

Ping An's net profit for the first nine months this year rose 19.7 percent year on year to 79.39 billion yuan (HK$89.93 billion).

Ping An Good Doctor, a subsidiary, entered into a subscription agreement with Grab for a joint venture in August, which primarily engaged in one-stop mobile health-care services in Southeast Asia.

"It took us 10 years to develop our health-care technology. It is core technology for us," said Ma. "We hope our disease-prevention system can be exported around the world."

He added: "International recognition of Ping An is still lacking because we haven't done enough to promote ourselves. The irony is we are probably one of the most international Chinese companies with an open international culture and senior management and scientists from overseas.

"From our early days we had foreign investors Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and then HSBC."

Shares of Ping An rose 0.83 percent to HK$78.65 yesterday, while HSBC climbed by 0.84 percent to HK$66.05.

avery.chen@singtaonewscorp.com

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