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Chinese firms line up for Korean insurer ING Life

[THE INVESTOR] The sale of South Korean insurance firm ING Life Korea, which may be worth up to 3 trillion won ($2.62 million), has drawn attention from Chinese buyers, sources said on June 20.

Hong Kong-based private equity firm JD Capital, leading investment group Fosun and Taiping Life are in negotiations or conducting due diligence on the Korea’s fifth-largest insurance company by assets.

Asian buyout firm MBK Partners plans to sell its stake in ING Life Korea by the end of this year by commencing the bidding process in September. 

ING Life Korea internet homepage
ING Life Korea internet homepage

This is the latest in a string of shopping sprees by Chinese firms, following Anbang Insurance Group’s acquisitions of two Korean companies -- Allianz Life Insurance and Tongyang Life Insurance.

If one of the Chinese potential bidders wins the deal, the outstanding amount of Chinese capital in Korean life insurance industry will stand at over 70 billion won. This compares with 88 trillion won of the total assets of Korea’s third largest insurer Kyobo Life Insurance.

ING Life’s total assets have grown to 30 trillion won as of end-2015 from 23 trillion in 2013 when MBK took over the firm for $1.7 billion.

Last year, ING Life posted net income of 305 billion won, up 36.3 percent from the earlier year while its net profit rose 22 percent to 304.8 billion won.

By Park Han-na (