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Ping An may exercise its option to boost stake in Fortis.

Ping An Insurance (Group) of China Ltd. made headlines last year when it acquired a 4.18% stake in the Dutch-Belgian financial services group Fortis. Not only was Ping An the first domestic Chinese insurer to invest in foreign markets, but the company also became Fortis's largest single investor.

Now, Fortis is suggesting that Ping An would like to increase its stake to 7%.

In its annual report for 2007, Fortis said Ping An "has declared that it ultimately wishes to obtain a 7% shareholding in Fortis, and Fortis has stated that it intends to explore possible means to that end..."

Fortis also said the three-year memorandum of understanding it signed with Ping An last November regarding Ping An's original acquisition gives Ping An certain rights as a shareholder. If Fortis were to offer favorable terms to any other shareholder in the future, it will be required to extend the same favorable terms to Ping An.

Ping An and Fortis also became partners in the global asset management business when Ping An signed a memorandum of understanding to pay 24.02 billion yuan (about $3.4 billion) for 50%, of Fortis Investments.
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Title Annotation:Briefing Highlights from BestWeek
Author:Pilla, David
Publication:Best's Review
Date:May 1, 2008
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