AIG may announce buyer for Taiwan unit next week

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    Insurance giant American International Group is likely to announce next week the buyer for its Taiwan unit, Nan Shan Life, a report said Thursday as the firm tries to pay back its US government bailout.

    AIG directors are expected to confer Thursday to try to select a buyer among four bidders, reported the Asian Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the situation.

    Sources said the company intends to pick a bidder that is most likely to win the approval of the island’s authorities in the wake of its previous failed attempt to sell the unit, the report said.

    Taiwan’s Chinatrust Financial, Fubon Financial, Cathay Financial and Ruentex Group are currently bidding for Nan Shan, with Ruentax offering the most, it said.

    Taiwanese media have said that five firms, including Goldsun Group, have offered between two and three billion US dollars while the Journal said Goldsun dropped out of the race amid concerns of Taiwanese regulators.

    Goldsun is reportedly backed by Hong Kong-based Primus Financial Holdings, whose previous bid to acquire Nan Shan for 2.15 billion US dollars was rejected by Taiwan’s government in August.

    Taiwanese authorities had cited concerns that the Hong Kong consortium of Primus and China Strategic Holdings lacked the experience needed to manage an insurer and it also failed to provide a long-term management commitment.

    The rejection of the bid came as a blow to AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, which has been selling assets to pay back US government loans since its rescue from collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

    Taipei, Dec 23, 2010 (AFP)