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Asset sales : China Life and Pacific Insurance eye bank stakes in SRCB

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China Life and China Pacific Insurance, two of the country’s biggest insurers, are in talks to buy stakes in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank (SRCB), which is one-fifth owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), people with knowledge of the deal said.

SRCB is also in talks with existing stakeholders, including parent Shanghai International Group and No.2 shareholder ANZ, over plans for the private share placement, which could raise more than 10 billion Yuan ($1.49 billion), one source said.

SRCB, which has 3.7 billion outstanding shares, aims to double its share base by selling one new share for every existing share, but the issue price has not yet been determined, two sources said. China Life, the country’s biggest life insurer, and Pacific Insurance, the third-largest, are interested in buying stakes in the lender, according to sources.

It is not clear though whether SRCB is in talks with China Life directly or its group parent. Both SRCB and ANZ declined to comment. A spokesman at China Life said he was unaware of the deal, while Pacific Insurance could not immediately provide comment.

Source : Reuters