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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Belt and Road dealmakers eye financial firms
    2017-September-14  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

AFTER ports and industrial parks, the dealmakers leading China’s trillion-dollar push to build a modern Silk Road are turning to the financial sector, targeting Europe’s banks, insurers and asset managers to tap funds and expertise.

Two of China’s most acquisitive conglomerates, HNA Group and Anbang Insurance Group, have separately considered bidding for the German insurer Allianz SE, sources familiar with the matter have said.

Neither of the two made an offer, but the talks marked a new level of ambition for China: Allianz is a German stalwart, a pillar for local pensions and a global powerhouse with 1.9 trillion euros (US$2.3 trillion) of assets under management.

HNA already owns a stake of just under 10 percent in Deutsche Bank.

Bankers, lawyers and company executives say more financial deals will come, led by State behemoths such as China Life and China Everbright, as well as private firms including Legend Holdings and China Minsheng Financial.

“The message from the regulators is clear — they want these companies to go out and get access to large amounts of funds and expertise,” said a financial merger and acquisition (M&A) adviser at a global bank, who works with Chinese regulators and companies.

“They would look very favorably at transactions that have some links to the Belt and Road program, because the country needs to boost its financial muscle,” the banker said. But China “will ensure the excesses of the past couple of years do not happen again.”

The banker, who declined to be named, said his firm was currently working on several “mid-sized to large” foreign financial takeover deals.

After a deal spree that saw Chinese conglomerates spend billions on everything from landmark property to soccer clubs in a debt-fuelled M&A drive over the past two years, the government has sought to rein in some of the excesses.

China’s outbound M&A volume targeting financials has reached nearly US$9 billion as of last week this year, not far from US$12 billion in all of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data. If exceeded, it would be the second best year for such deals since at least the global financial crisis in 2008.

The share of financial transactions in overall outbound deal volume has also risen to 8.2 percent this year, higher than 5.7 percent in the same period last year, while industrial deals, typically the biggest sector for outbound M&A, fell by a third.

Earlier this month, Legend — the top shareholder in the computer maker Lenovo — agreed to buy a 90 percent stake in Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (BIL) for US$1.8 billion.

The deal, Legend said, was linked to the Belt and Road initiative.

“Our overseas investments will continue to focus on the opportunities that are provided by the Belt and Road policy,” the company said, adding it would “actively invest” in other areas of financial services, including insurance, securities and financial technology.

It gave no details, but bankers said Legend has been eyeing banks and insurers in Southeast Asia and Europe, using its healthy balance sheet and the halo effect of Belt and Road-linked initiatives.

Besides Legend, others eyeing the sector include the insurer China Life, China Minsheng Financial, China Everbright, part of the State-owned China Everbright Group, and Haitong International Securities.

They are mainly scouting for investment and acquisition targets in Europe and Asia, said bankers and lawyers.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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