In the next 10 years, An­bang will have sub­sidiaries on ev­ery con­ti­nent.”

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

An­bang In­sur­ance Group Co Ltd, the Chi­nese in­surer known for its high-pro­file pur­chase ofNewYork’s famed Wal­dorf As­to­ria ho­tel, has re­ported ex­plo­sive profit growth for 2014, which an­a­lysts said was fu­eled by its surg­ing pre­mium in­come and in­vest­ment re­turns.

The net profit of An­bang’s life in­sur­ance busi­ness reached 8.48 bil­lion yuan ($1.37 bil­lion), more than 34 times the year-ear­lier level, the com­pany said in its fi­nan­cial state­ment onWed­nes­day.

Life in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums stood at 52.9 bil­lion yuan, more than 38 times the pre­vi­ous year’s level.

Net profit in the prop­erty in­sur­ance sec­tor reached 17.47 bil­lion yuan last year, com­pared with 3.53 bil­lion yuan in 2013.

The gains can be ex­plained by ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion through do­mes­tic and global in­vest­ment and ac­qui­si­tions, said Wang Guo­jun, an in­sur­ance pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nomics in Bei­jing.

“An­bang is an ex­cep­tional case as the com­pany has grown so fast from such a small as­set base,” Wang said.

The com­pany, which was an ob­scure player in the Chi­nese in­sur­ance in­dus­try just a few years ago, rose to sud­den promi­nence in the fi­nan­cial mar­ket af­ter a string of high­pro­file do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ments and ac­qui­si­tions.

It has steadily built up share­hold­ings in China’s ma­jor prop­erty de­vel­op­ers and banks through on-mar­ket pur­chases.

Those hold­ings yielded fat prof­its for An­bang as the boom­ing A-share mar­ket surged more than 80 per­cent over the past six months. The mar­ket value of An­bang’s hold­ings may ex­ceed 140 bil­lion yuan, me­dia re­ports said.

An­bang also con­tin­ued its global ex­pan­sion this year by ac­quir­ing the Dutch in­sur­ance com­pany Vi­vat and South Korea’s Tongyang Life In­sur­ance Co.

The trans­for­ma­tion of An­bang into a fi­nan­cial em­pire with li­censes in al­most all mar­ket seg­ments has drawn much at­ten­tion.

Its ag­gres­sive in­vest­ment has been backed by a strong cap­i­tal in­jec­tion­fromits share­hold­ers.

In less than one year, the com­pany man­aged to boost its reg­is­tered cap­i­tal from 12 bil­lionyuanto 61.9bil­lionyua­nas of the end of 2014, mak­ing it the coun­try’s largest in­surer by that mea­sure.

With to­tal as­sets of more than 700 bil­lion yuan, the com­pany is China’s fourth­largest in­surer by as­set value.

Dur­ing a re­cent visit toHar­vard Uni­ver­sity as part of a global tal­ent hunt, An­bang Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Wu Xiao­hui talked about the com­pany’s am­bi­tious plan to build a global fi­nan­cial em­pire.

“In the next 10 years, An­bang will have sub­sidiaries on ev­ery con­ti­nent and it will be a global hold­ing com­pany with sub­sidiaries listed on many stock ex­changes … By then, An­bang’s as­set scale will ex­ceed your imag­i­na­tion,” Wu said.

A public re­la­tions of­fi­cial of An­bang told China Daily that the com­pany will con­tinue to ex­pand its global foot­print through in­ter­na­tional ac­qui­si­tions.

“Australia and the United King­dom are among An­bang’s next in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions,” the of­fi­cial said.

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