PETALING JAYA: Singapore insurer Great Eastern Holdings Ltd is reportedly in talks to buy MetLife Inc’s Malaysian venture, according to people familiar with the matter.
The subsidiary of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) is conducting due diligence on AmMetLife Insurance Bhd and seeking regulatory approval to clinch the deal, the people said.
A transaction could value AmMetLife, which US-based MetLife jointly owns with Kuala Lumpur-listed AMMB Holdings Bhd, at between US$250 million (RM1.12 billion) and US$300 million (RM1.34 billion), the people said.
An agreement could be reached within the next few months, claimed the sources who wish to remain anonymous. Talks are ongoing and could still fall apart or face delays, they said.
A spokesperson for MetLife declined to comment, while a representative for Great Eastern didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
A representative for AMMB said any announcements will be made in accordance with listing requirements.
A deal would see Great Eastern prevail in its pursuit of AmMetLife Insurance. The Singaporean firm was interested in acquiring the unit last year, even as Zurich Insurance Group AG had emerged as the frontrunner to buy a majority stake, Bloomberg News reported at the time.
MetLife and AMMB teamed up to form their Malaysian insurance partnership AmMetLife in 2014.
The parties started exploring a potential divestment of the business in 2020, people familiar with the matter said at the time.
AmMetLife offers life insurance and wealth protection services through nearly 200 AmBank and AmMetLife branches in the country.
It reported about RM307 million of gross earned premiums for the six months ended Sept 30, a 16.7% increase from a year earlier, according to its latest financial report.
Founded in 1908, Great Eastern has more than S$100 billion (RM334.5 billion) in assets and over 14.5 million policyholders, according to its website.
It has life, general and group insurance operations as well as an asset management arm called Lion Global Investors Ltd.
Great Eastern operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia and has a presence in China as well as an office in Myanmar.
At market close today, AMMB’s share price was up by 4 sen or 1.05% to RM3.86, giving it a market capitalisation of RM12.79 billion.