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Manulife Enters Cambodia Market With Phnom Penh Office

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June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest insurer, has opened an office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, its first in the Southeast Asian nation.

Manulife has about 40 people in its Cambodian unit, the Toronto-based insurer said today in a statement.

Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien, 55, has said expansion in Asia is part of Manulife’s plan to reach C$4 billion ($3.9 billion) in net income by 2015. Manulife, owner of Boston-based John Hancock Financial, operates in Hong Kong and countries including China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.

The insurer offers Cambodian clients basic term insurance and is working with regulators to sell other products, David Wong, chairman of Manulife Cambodia, said today in a phone interview. The unit has been working with regulators since early 2011 to win approval to operate there, he said.

“We see an emerging middle class here,” Wong said. “These are people starting families with steady jobs, fairly good jobs, where the average age is 25.”

Manulife fell 7 cents to C$10.77 in Toronto. The shares have dropped 0.7 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net.

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