Old Mutual plans Chinese insurance exit: Firm to say farewell to 13-year joint venture

Oliver Gill
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Old Mutual has operated in the Chinese insurance market for 13 years

Old Mutual is looking to ditch its interest in the Chinese insurance sector after putting its interest in a joint venture in the country up for sale, according to reports.

The FTSE 100 firm is working with advisers to sell its 50 per cent stake in Old Mutual-Guodian Life Insurance. It is understood one or more local firms are likely to be the buyer of the 13-year partnership.

The move is part of the ongoing restructuring of Old Mutual that includes exiting non-core and smaller operations, sources told Reuters. They said a deal is yet to be agreed and Old Mutual could pull the plug on the Chinese sale if bids fail to meet its expectations.

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Old Mutual declined to comment on the reports.

Last week, fellow London-listed giant Standard Life announced it would sell half its Hong Kong business in what it called "a major milestone" in the development of its Chinese operations.

Standard Life Asia, the group's Hong Kong subsidiary will be sold to China's Heng An Standard Life, a joint venture it also has a 50 per cent share in.

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Although another London-headquartered insurance firm, Prudential, is also looking east to expand, Old Mutual is looking to exit emerging markets operations. The firm wants to either spin-off or sell such a division in favour of concentrating on sub-Saharan Africa.

Last month China's HNA snapped up a 25 per cent shareholding in Old Mutual Asset Management for $446m. The firm also sold its Italian wealth management arm last year for $297m.

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