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AIA to Invest $337 Million in Biggest Thai Property Project

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Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- AIA Group Ltd., the third-largest Asia-based insurer by market value, plans to spend 10.5 billion baht ($337 million) on two office towers in Bangkok, the company’s biggest ever real estate investment in Thailand.

AIA Capital Center, a 35-story commercial office complex next to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014, and AIA Sathorn Tower will be completed in 2015, the company said in Bangkok today.

AIA Capital Center “will form an integral part of Thailand’s first financial hub,” the Hong Kong-based insurer said. “These two real estate investments reflect our ongoing confidence in Thailand’s long-term growth.”

The country is the second-largest of the 15 Asian markets that AIA operates in after Hong Kong, contributing almost 26 percent of the insurer’s profit in the six months ended May, according to a report filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange. AIA held a board meeting in Thailand this week, its first outside Hong Kong, Chief Executive Officer Mark Tucker told reporters at a media briefing today.

Thailand also accounted for more than 20 percent of the value of new business, an indicator of the projected future after-tax profit of new policies sold minus the costs of holding capital to support the growth.

Value of new business in Thailand surged 51 percent in the six months over a year earlier, making it the second-fastest growing country after Singapore, the company said in the report.

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net; Bei Hu in Hong Kong at bhu5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net