Five Taiwan firms bid for AIG’s unit

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    Five Taiwanese companies are bidding for US insurance giant AIG’s local unit, Nan Shan Life, with offers of between two and three billion US dollars, the bidders and media said Saturday.

    Chinatrust Financial, Fubon Financial, Cathay Financial as well as a consortium of Ruentex Group and Pou Chen Corporation were among the bidders, said the Economic Daily News, citing unnamed sources.

    The fifth — a surprise inclusion — was the Goldsun Group, which was said to be working with Hong Kong-based Primus Financial Holdings, whose previous bid for Nan Shan Life was rejected by local authorities, the report said.

    The companies were offering between two and three billion US dollars. Chinatrust, Goldsun and the Ruentex-Pou Chen consortium were the highest bidders, it said.

    All companies, except Fubon and Goldsun, have confirmed in statements posted on the Taiwan Stock Exchange that they are in the running, but have not elaborated.

    The bidding came after American International Group’s earlier comment that it was considering other options after the collapse of a planned 2.15 billion US dollar sale of Nan Shan Life to China Strategic Holdings.

    The Hong Kong-listed company and its partner Primus Financial Holdings called off the deal in September after it was rejected by Taiwan’s Investment Commission.

    Taiwanese authorities said they feared the Hong Kong consortium lacked the experience needed to manage an insurer and argued it had failed to provide a long-term management commitment — claims dismissed by the consortium.

    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 4, 2010 (AFP)