Great Eastern sells Vietnam insurance unit for over $35 million

By Dam Tuan   June 8, 2016 | 02:37 am PT
Great Eastern Holdings Ltd has sold its insurance arm in Vietnam to FWD Life Insurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd, a unit of Hong Kong's Pacific Century Group, for $48.2 million ($35 million).

FWD Group announced that it had secured regulatory approval to carry out the acquisition of Great Eastern Life Insurance Vietnam, the arm of Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited. Procedures are expected to complete by June 21, according to a statement released by FWD on June 7.

The net book value of Great Eastern Life Insurance Vietnam Co Ltd as of May 31 was S$47.5 million (nearly $35 million), the company told the Singapore Exchange on June 7.

This will mark FWD’s second new market entry this year, following the majority acquisition of Singaporean medical provider Shenton Insurance in April.

Great Eastern Vietnam will be rebranded following the acquisition, and FWD plans to invest in developing the company’s technology infrastructure and improve customer experience with a vision of becoming a leading insurer in Vietnam.

FWD Group CEO Huynh Phong Thanh said: “The move into Vietnam’s market will be an important strategic milestone for FWD’s Southeast Asian penetration ambitions. Vietnam’s economy has been transforming positively and is full of potential. We see great opportunies in this dynamic market for a new, Asian-born insurer to meet the protection needs of the millions of Vietnamese people.”

Commenting on the sale Great Eastern Holdings CEO Khor Hock Seng said: "Our decision was made after a comprehensive strategic review. We will be increasing our focus to grow our core markets of Singapore and Malaysia, as well as our business in Indonesia and Brunei."

"The divestment is not expected to have a material impact on the group's financials. As part of the transaction, FWD will honor all in-force policies. We will work with them to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and our employees," Seng added.

The headquarters will remain in Ho Chi Minh City, with a branch in Hanoi.

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