DEALTALK-China firms keen on $1 bln Hong Kong insurance asset auction -sources

Wed Feb 3, 2016 11:11pm EST
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(For more Reuters DEALTALKs, double click on )

* Country Garden, China Life, others keen on Dah Sing asset-bankers

* Dah Sing has put up insurance business for strategic review

* Chinese firms eager to diversify country, currency risks-banker

By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Property developers and other Chinese firms have shown strong interest to bid for the $1 billion insurance asset of Hong Kong's Dah Sing as they seek diversification from a slowing mainland economy and a weakening yuan, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Chinese companies have been very enthusiastic even though some have little or no insurance-sector experience, said the sources. China's fourth-biggest developer, Country Garden Holdings, and its biggest insurer, China Life , are among those that have flagged their interest, they added.

Since Dah Sing Financial Holdings announced a strategic review of the business on Jan. 12, the company and its adviser, Citigroup, have received indications of interest from more than 20 Chinese companies, two sources familiar with the sale process told Reuters.

"There is a strong desire among Chinese companies to diversify their country risk and the currency risk," one of the sources said.   Continued...