Anbang Pays $420 Million to Boost Stake in Sino-Ocean Land

  • Insurer raised stake in Sino-Ocean to 29.98% on Dec. 9
  • Anbang bought 20.5 percent of developer two days earlier

Anbang Insurance Group Co. paid HK$3.3 billion ($420 million) to raise its stake in Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. to almost 30 percent, days after it bought about a fifth of the Chinese developer’s shares.

The insurer purchased 651 million Sino-Ocean Land shares at an average price of HK$5 a share on Dec. 9, taking its stake to 29.98 percent from 21.31 percent, according to a disclosure filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday. Anbang on Dec. 7 bought 20.5 percent of the builder from the family of Nan Fung Group Holdings Ltd.’s founder Chen Din Hwa, according to a filing last Monday.

Sino Ocean shares gained 2.3 percent to HK$4.97 on Wednesday. That was the most since a 9 percent gain Dec. 7, the date of Anbang’s previous purchase.

The developer’s biggest shareholder as of June 30 was China Life Insurance Co., which held a 29.27 percent stake at the time, according to the first-half report Sino-Ocean released Sept. 15.

Credit Negative

In a report Wednesday morning, Standard & Poor’s analysts led by Cindy H. Huang said the change in ownership structure at Sino-Ocean was credit negative "because because it introduces uncertainties to the company’s strategic direction." However, the move would have no immediate rating on Sino-Ocean’s ratings, the report said.

In an e-mailed response to Bloomberg, Huang said China Life remained Sino-Ocean’s largest shareholder by a small margin. "Our report already considered the latest ownership information from Anbang," she said.

Asked if that meant China Life had raised its stake above 29.98 percent, she later added: "Our report is based on our discussion with Sino-Ocean Land on their ownership status. We will assess the developing situation as information becomes available."

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to reflect S&P analyst’s e-mailed comments.)

— With assistance by Emma Dong

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