FWD nears deal for HK insurer

Business | Bloomberg 26 Jun 2019

FWD Group is in advanced talks to buy MetLife's Hong Kong insurance unit in what would be the latest in a string of acquisitions by the insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li, people familiar with the matter said.

The companies could reach an agreement in the next few weeks, they said.

A deal could value MetLife Hong Kong at less than US$400 million (HK$3.12 billion) and would help FWD boost its presence in the city. At that price, MetLife would sell the asset for less than its $400 million embedded value, a measure of the value of its insurance contracts.

China has been working to curb demand for Hong Kong insurance products, which are popular with mainland customers who see them as offshore investments which can help to safeguard their assets and hedge against yuan volatility. Still, some buyers have been willing to do deals betting on further growth in the industry.

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