From AP via yahoo.com:
China’s second-biggest life insurer Ping An Insurance said Thursday it had bought a 4.18 percent stake in Fortis NV for ¬£1.81 billion (US$2.67 billion), becoming the Dutch-Belgian company’s single biggest shareholder. Ping An said it has an option to increase its stake in Fortis to 4.99 percent, but added it has no plans to acquire control of the financial services company.
The news lifted shares of both companies. Ping An’s Hong Kong-listed stock jumped 6.67 percent to HK$83.20, while Fortis shares rose 3.5 percent to ¬£18.78 (US$27.78) in Amsterdam morning trading. “Ping An will benefit from Fortis’ expertise in cross selling, risk management and innovation in product design,” Ping An Chairman Peter Ma said. [Full Text]
See also: Chinese Insurers Freed To Expand Capital Investments Abroad from Forbes.com and China Inc flush with cash and in the market to buy expertise from The Times, which says:
The hunted have become the hunters in China’s financial industry. That has never been clearer than in yesterday’s move by Ping An to buy a 4.18 per cent stake in Fortis…
The deal, the largest foreign purchase by a Chinese insurer, was also an important strategic move for China Inc. [Full text]