Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Richard Li Secures ING Insurance Units

Richard Li has won the race to buy the Hong Kong and Thailand operations of ING's insurance business for more than $2 billion, according to people close to the process, leaving the Dutch group with just its Korean and Japanese operations to sell in Asia.

Richard Li Secures ING Insurance Units
Bloomberg|Getty Images

The deal, which is expected to be announced on Friday, will see the son of Hong Kong's richest tycoon, Li Ka-shing, move back into an industry he left with the 2007 sale of Pacific Century Life, a Hong Kong-based life assurance company that he sold to Belgo-Dutch group Fortis.

ING last week agreed to sell its Malaysian business to AIA, the pan-Asian life insurer, for $1.7 billion. The deal is part of a series of sales imposed on the group by the EU after its rescue by the Dutch government during the financial crisis.

Analysts at JPMorgan in Europe estimated that the Hong Kong and Thai businesses have a book value of €0.9 billion ($1.2 billion). "If similar multiples are achieved as in Malaysia, we estimate this would raise €1.5 billion-€2 billion," they wrote last week.

According to people familiar with the sale, Mr Li is paying about €1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) for the businesses.

Mr Li, the majority owner of Hong Kong media and telecoms group PCCW, was given extra firepower for his ambitions this summer by a pledge from his billionaire father that he would back his son's business ventures with cash.

The budding tycoon has three main business interests — telecoms, property and financial services — with which the ING insurance arm would fit. Mr Li in 2010 bought Pinebridge Investments, a U.S.-based asset management business, from AIG following the insurance company's collapse during the global financial crisis.

Contact Asia News


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Asia Video

  • European sharing economy can grow rapidly: ING

    Ian Bright, senior economist at ING, discusses the findings of ING's latest survey which revealed that the sharing economy is poised for rapid growth in Europe.

  • What a 'Yes' vote means for Greece

    Richard Champion, deputy CIO at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, says Greece will see further instability in the short to medium term if the "Yes" camp wins Sunday's referendum.

  • A 'No' vote doesn't mean a 'Grexit': StanChart

    Manpreet Gill, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered, says a "No" vote in Sunday's referendum will give Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras more bargaining power, but it doesn't necessarily means a "Grexit."