The private equity unit of Goldman Sachs has emerged as a leading contender to acquire a minority stake in a Chinese life assurer being sold by Axa.
People familiar with the situation said that Goldman's principal investment arm is in talks to acquire some, or all, of the 15.6 per cent stake in Taikang Life being sold by the French insurer.
知情人士表示，高盛的资本投资部门正与安盛谈判，以部分或全部购买这家法国保险商正在出售的泰康人寿(Taikang Life) 15.6%的股权。
The Government of Singapore Investment Corp, the sovereign wealth fund, which holds 8 per cent of Taikang Life, is also considering raising its stake.
持有泰康人寿8%股权的主权财富基金——新加坡政府投资公司(Government of Singapore Investment Corp, GIC)也正在考虑增持股份。
Axa's stake, estimated to be worth $1bn, offers exposure to China's fast-growing life assurance sector.
A minority stake is especially attractive for financial investors such as Goldman Sachs because Taikang Life is pushing for a stock market listing, a move which would provide shareholders with a clean exit route.
Goldman Sachs' principal investment arm has successfully invested in financial companies across Asia over the past 15 years.
It was an early investor in Ping An, Taikang Life's larger rival, before its stock market listing in 2004.
Taikang Life has a market share of about 8 per cent, in a sector dominated by China Life and Ping An. It has total assets of $28bn and net income last year reached approximately $250m.
Axa last year appointed Morgan Stanley to advise on the sale, which has been triggered by regulatory demands.
The French insurer also owns a 51 per cent stake in an insurance joint venture with China Minmetals Corp, formed 10 years ago, and inherited the Taikang stake when it acquired Winterthur Life from Credit Suisse in 2006.
这家法国保险公司还在10年前与中国五矿集团(China Minmetals Corp)合资成立的保险公司中拥有51%的股份。泰康的股份是它2006年收购瑞士信贷(Credit Suisse)旗下瑞士丰泰人寿(Winterthur Life)时获得的。
Global private equity groups have also studied a possible bid for the stake.
Depending on the sale price struck with an eventual buyer, people familiar with the matter said that GIC could instead decide to reduce its stake.
Goldman, Morgan Stanley and GIC declined to comment.
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