HSBC considers sale of its stake in Vietnamese insurance group Bao Viet

HSBC building, Hong Kong

British banking and financial services group HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA) said on Thursday it was reviewing strategic options for its 18% interest in Vietnamese insurer Bao Viet Holdings including a potential sale, confirming media speculation that it could be seeking buyers for the stake.

According to a Reuters report from July citing sources, HSBC was discussing a potential deal worth some USD400m (EUR324m) for its Bao Viet stake with Sumitomo Life Insurance Company.

One of the sources informed on the matter, told the news agency that although the stake’s market value is only USD250m, the British bank targets a high premium for it, because of Bao Viet’s good market position and the possiblity for the buyer to increase its ownership in it in the future.

Other interested parties had a look at Bao Viet, the sources also said, without naming any.

For its part, HSBC, which paid a total USD360m to build the 18% in Bao Viet in 2007 and 2009, said it would give details on the strategic review for the stake when appropriate.

The interest is held by HSBC Insurance (Asia Pacific) Holdings Limited, HSBC said.
The UK bank has already shed 28 businesses, reduced 15,000 jobs and released risk-weighted assets worth USD55bn under a three-year recovery plan.

In March 2011, Bao Viet had over 5,200 employees, more than 30,000 consultants and some 130 branches, according to its website.

For more on HSBC’s asset disposals, click here.

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