AIG’s Taiwan business may sell for $3bn

Elizabeth Fournier
AIG has received speculative offers of up to $3bn (£1.9bn) for its Taiwanese arm following a blocked bid of $2.1bn last year, it has told US regulators.

In a letter released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission the insurance group revealed that Nan Shan, the third largest life insurance firm in Taiwan, had attracted offers well above its market price since it was put back on the block in September last year.

The disclosure came after news broke of a potential joint bid for Nan Shan by Taiwan Secom, Primus Financial and Goldsun, four months after a $2.15bn by Primus bid was blocked by the country’s regulators.

The deal would see the consortium take a stake in Nan Shan and co-manage the firm with AIG, a set-up that AIG would rather avoid in favour of an outright disposal.

But a sale is being delayed due to a wish list of conditions that the Taiwanese regulator has drawn up for Nan Shan’s suitors, in line with the country’s rules on mainland investment that blocked the initial offer.

The regulator’s intervention is a barrier to AIG’s attempts to raise money through divestments to pay back bailout money it received from the US government, which owns more than 90 per cent of the group.

Ex-AIG chairman Hank Greenberg yesterday reiterated his distaste at the bailout of AIG, accusing the government of denying AIG the more lenient terms that were offered to some investment banks to access government funds.

AIG’s shares fell on news of the consortium’s offer on Tuesday, but climbed throughout Wednesday as the unsolicited bid amounts were revealed, closing 7.3 per cent up at $60.95