PETALING JAYA: Great Eastern Holdings Ltd is reportedly planning to dispose of its stake in its Malaysian operations for as much as US$1bil (RM4.19bil).
According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Singapore-listed insurer had already engaged a Malaysian bank to discuss the potential deal.
Great Eastern is a 87%-owned subsidiary of OCBC Bank in Singapore.
Other foreign insurers reportedly in discussion to dispose of their stakes in their respective Malaysian subsidiaries ahead of a Bank Negara deadline requiring a 30% local ownership include Prudential plc of the United Kingdom and Tokio Marine Holdings of Japan.
The WSJ said both Prudential and Tokio Marine planned to sell close to a third of the shares in their Malaysian units. These deals could potentially raise US$3bil collectively over the next nine months.
Last June, the Malaysian central bank gave insurers until June 2018 to meet its requirement that foreign ownership should not exceed 70%. The move was aimed at increasing local participation in the industry.
Various reports said potential buyers of stakes that would be disposed of by foreign insurers would be local institutional funds such as the Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
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