Samsung Life seeks to acquire shares in Việt Nam’s largest insurer (BVH)

Samsung Life Insurance is seeking to make inroads into Viet Nam through an equity investment in Bao Viet Life, the country’s largest life insurer, Koreatimes reports.

 

South Korea’s largest life insurer said Tuesday it is in talks with Bao Viet Life to acquire some of the Vietnamese firm’s shares. It is the seventh-largest listed company in Viet Nam.

"We can’t comment on details at this point, but it is true the discussion is underway with Bao Viet," said a Samsung Life Insurance official. "There are hurdles to be addressed regarding some legal issues with the Vietnamese government."

Bao Viet is Viet Nam’s largest life insurer with nearly 200,000 employees and life planners at its 75 branches across the country. The firm occupies an 18.9 per cent market share, followed by foreign insurers Prudential and AIA.

Media reports have said Samsung Life is seeking to acquire about 20 per cent of Bao Viet Life, but an official declined to comment on the terms of the deal.

The life insurer is fully owned by Bao Viet Holdings, in which the Vietnamese Government owns a 72 per cent stake. Bao Viet Holdings is also a listed firm on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of US$2.65 billion.

The holding company is yet to allow foreign firms to acquire shares of its life insurance unit to date, but such a stance is expected to change soon as the Government pushes its plan to privatise some State-owned companies.

Samsung Life’s move is in line with the Moon Jae-in administration’s drive to strengthen its presence in the Southeast Asian region through its signature New Southern Policy.

The administration aims to expand South Korea’s ties with ASEAN as the region’s 10 member countries have emerged as the nation’s second-largest trading bloc after China.

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