Sun Life, Khazanah to buy Aviva's Malaysian operations - sources

Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:36am EST
 
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By Denny Thomas and Saeed Azhar

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Canada's Sun Life Financial and Malaysian state investor Khazanah have agreed to buy Aviva's Malaysian insurance joint venture with lender CIMB for about 1.7 billion ringgit ($563 million), sources said on Sunday.

The deal will help the Canadian company expand its Asian footprint.

The consortium of Sun Life Financial Inc SLF.TO and Khazanah Nasional Bhd KHAZA.UL edged out rival Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO to win the eight-month old auction, sources familiar with the sale process said.

Britain's No.2 insurer Aviva is exiting marginal markets across the world with the aim of boosting its underperforming share price, and the sale of its Malaysian unit is part of that overhaul. Last month, Aviva sold its U.S. business for $1.8 billion, its biggest-ever disposal.

The Malaysian deal is expected to be signed on Monday, the sources said.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

Global insurers are showing increasing interest in Southeast Asia because of its rapid economic growth, high savings rates, and relatively young populations.

Malaysia is the third-biggest economy in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and CIMB has 320 branches across the country through which it can sell insurance products.   Continued...

 
A staff attends to a customer at a branch of CIMB Bank in Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad