AIGin $2.15bn Taiwan sale

INSURER American International Group (AIG) has finally struck a deal to sell its Taiwanese life insurance arm for $2.15bn (&pound;1.36bn), in a key step in its bid to pay off its $80bn government bailout.<br /><br />AIGsold its Nan Shan Life arm to two little-known buyers &ndash; a start-up financial group run by a former Citigroup banker and an obscure, publicly traded Hong Kong holding company with a market value of $111m.<br /><br />The agreement will likely to bring a sigh of relief to the AIG camp as, at one point, it looked liked the process would not succeed.<br /><br />Primus Financial, the firm founded by Citi&rsquo;s former Asia investment banking head, together with China Strategic Holdings, are to buy Nan Shan Life, ending a five-month auction that involved private equity firms and local financial groups.<br /><br />Nan Shan, a top-three Taiwan insurer, has assets of $46.4bn and employs 36,000 sales agents in Taiwan and has a market share of 10 percent with its 4m customers.<br /><br />Primus will own around 20 per cent of the business and China Strategic 80 per cent, according to the companies.<br /><br />The sale allows AIG to check one business off its list of units to sell in fund-raising efforts.<br /><br />Its Hong Kong-based life insurer AIA is seeking a more-than $2bn initial public offering (IPO). Its American Life Insurance arm, which generates half of its revenues in Japan, could fetch $5bn in an IPO. <br /><br />China Strategic, whose businesses include battery production and securities investments, had said it planned to raise about 7.8bn Hong Kong dollars to fund a possible joint acquisition.