World Economy

Chinese Insurer Buys Ailing Dutch Counterpart

Chinese Insurer Buys Ailing Dutch CounterpartChinese Insurer Buys Ailing Dutch Counterpart

Dutch bank SNS Reaal on Monday announced it was selling its insurance arm to Chinese insurer Anbang for 150 million euros, as it restructured after being nationalized two years ago.

“SNS Reaal... has signed an agreement with Anbang for the sale of Vivat Verzekeringen. Under the agreement, Anbang acquires 100 percent of the shares of Vivat,” SNS Reaal said in a statement, AFP reported.

Anbang also planned to pump up to one billion euros ($1.1 billion) into the ailing insurer to recapitalize and help redeem internal loans within the SNS Reaal group of 552 million euros, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a statement.

The banking and insurance group, the Netherlands’ fourth largest, was nationalized in early 2013 at a cost of 3.7 billion euros after suffering massive recurring losses.

SNS Reaal at the time was considered to be a bank that was too important to be allowed to go bankrupt. SNS Reaal announced last year it was splitting its banking and insurance arms, as it restructured as part of the bail-out agreement with the Dutch state, which wants SNS Reaal Bank to become a stand-alone entity. “Selling off our insurance branch is the next step in the restructuring process,” SNS Reaal spokesman Hilbert Bredemeijer told AFP.

The deal is subject to approval by Dutch and Chinese regulatory authorities and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. Dijsselbloem on Monday said he was “satisfied” with plans to sell Vivat.

“The agreement gives clear perspective to Reaal, its employees and policy holders... and will strengthen Reaal’s position,” he said.

Based in the central Dutch city of Utrecht, Vivat, formerly known as Reaal N.V., manages six million insurance policies, earning gross proceeds of 3.0 billion euros and employs 4,000 people.

The Beijing-based Anbang said in a statement it was pleased with the acquisition of Vivat. “This transaction fits Anbang’s strategy of international diversification and development,” said the Chinese insurer, which in last October bought Hilton’s landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for $1.95 billion.

Anbang employs some 30,000 workers and also owns Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank and Anbang Asset Management Company.