Anbang Is Said to Consider Sale of Chinese Health Insurer Hexie

(Bloomberg) -- Anbang Insurance Group Co. is weighing a sale of its Hexie Health Insurance Co. unit as the troubled Chinese firm reviews its assets for possible divestment, according to people familiar with the matter.

The insurer is in discussions with financial advisers about a possible disposal of the unit after receiving interest, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The health insurance firm could attract Chinese insurers as well as private equity funds, one of the people said.

A sale of Hexie Health would be the first major local asset sale for Beijing-based Anbang since the government seized temporary control of the insurer in February amid a campaign to curb financial system risk. After gaining renown for an aggressive global acquisition spree, the Chinese firm said earlier this year it was reviewing all of its overseas assets.

Hexie Health provides services ranging from disease management, medical care, disability care, health care and accident insurance in the world’s most populous country. Its net income jumped more than fivefold to 2.7 billion yuan ($405 million) in 2016 from the previous year, after revenue from premiums more than tripled, its latest annual report shows.

Considerations about a possible sale of Hexie Health are preliminary, no formal process is under way and discussions may not result in a deal, the people said. A spokesman for Anbang said the company doesn’t comment on speculation.

China picked banks earlier this year to advise on potential disposals of Anbang’s assets, Bloomberg reported in May. Anbang is exploring a sale of Belgian insurer Fidea, people familiar with the matter said this month.

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