MetLife, AMMB to Weigh Sale of Malaysian Insurer, Sources Say

The owners of AmMetLife Insurance Bhd. are exploring options for their Malaysian life insurance business, which could fetch as much as $600 million in a sale, people familiar with the matter said.

U.S. insurer MetLife Inc. and Kuala Lumpur-listed AMMB Holdings Bhd. are working with an adviser for the potential divestment of the jointly-owned business, according to the people. A formal sale process could start as soon as this year, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The asset could draw interest from other insurers in Malaysia, the people said. MetLife continues to invest in its business in Asia where demand for insurance continues to be strong, one of the people said.

Deliberations are still preliminary and the companies could decide not to proceed with a disposal, the people said. Representatives for AMMB Holdings and MetLife declined to comment.

Malaysia has seen a wave of consolidation in the insurance industry. AMMB and Insurance Australia Group Ltd. are selling AmGeneral Insurance Bhd., Malaysia’s second-biggest auto insurer, Bloomberg News has reported. AXA SA and Affin Bank Bhd. have also been considering a sale of their life and general insurance businesses in Malaysia, people familiar with the matter have said.

MetLife and AMMB set up their Malaysian insurance partnership AmMetLife back in 2014, according to its website. The company offers life insurance and wealth protection services in the country. Its gross earned premium was about 243 million ringgit ($58 million) for the six months ended September 2019, its latest financial report shows.

MetLife sold its Hong Kong units to FWD Group Ltd. this year for an undisclosed amount. The U.S. insurer still has operations in China, Japan and Korea, according to its website.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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