Following a cash injection of £8billion from the Dutch Government, ING is said to be preparing to go head to head with Prudential for AIG's Asian assets.
ING received £8billion in Government funding and then offloaded its Taiwanese insurance business for £350million, and, according to the Daily Mail, it is now targeting AIG.
US insurer AIG has put its Asian assets up for sale to try and repay the $85billion of Government funding it received last month, and, as Asian markets are still strong, there has been much interest in the business.
Despite this possible bid from ING and interest from the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), the front runner is Prudential Insurance
. Prudential, which operates in Asia, the US and the UK, today confirmed that it is considering the opportunities that may arise from buying AIG's Asian business.
"We are of course monitoring closely AIG's disposal programme and considering what, if any, opportunities may arise that would create additional value for our shareholders," said the group's chief executive Mark Tucker.
“Looking beyond these immediate events, Asia is the only region in the world that is expected to record high single digit economic growth rates in both 2008 and 2009," he said.
"This, combined with the strong growth of intra-regional trade, ongoing development of domestic consumer markets and the very low penetration of financial products, means we remain highly positive about the medium to long term prospects for Asia and our prime position in the region."
In reporting its third quarter results, Prudential confirmed a capital surplus of £1.2billion.
"Prudential has delivered a strong performance," said Mr Tucker, "with overall Group new business up 15 per cent. Our diversified business model has generated broad based growth across our markets."
Prudential's sales in Asia were up nine per cent over last year and up 21 per cent excluding Taiwan, and although Prudential also said today that it was unlikely to achieve its goal of doubling 2005 new business profits a year early in 2008, it confirmed that it does expect to achieve its goal in 2009, assuming a return to more normal market conditions.
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