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News from China
Anbang to buy US life insurer
10th November 2015

 ANBANG Insurance Group has agreed to buy US annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life for about US$1.57 billion as Chinese insurers seek to expand into the United States.
Privately held Anbang said yesterday that it would pay US$26.80 per share, a premium of 3 percent to the stock’s Friday close.
Financial holding company HRG Group Inc, Fidelity & Guaranty Life’s majority stockholder, has approved the deal, which would make Anbang one of the largest insurers by market share in fixed-indexed annuity products in the US.
The deal is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2016.
“The deal is too small for anti-trust issues, but there could be regulatory hurdles as the deal will have to be cleared by a number of state regulators in the US,” Sandler O’Neill analyst Paul Newsome said.
“There has been a broad trend of consolidation within the insurance space. It could accelerate this year,” he added.
Anbang and other Chinese insurers including Fosun International Ltd have launched some US$6.1 billion of overseas deals this year as they seek to diversify.
Fosun completed in May the acquisition of the remaining 80 percent interest that it did not already own in Ironshore Inc for US$1.84 billion.

Source: Shanghai Daily
Lufthansa’s cabin crew walk out
9th November 2015

GERMAN airline Lufthansa faces more aviation chaos today as cabin staff said they would resume a strike in a battle over cost cuts.
The stoppage — part of rolling industrial action set to continue until Friday — was due to hit Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and Munich airports today, the UFO flight attendants' union said.
Frankfurt, Germany's main air hub, and Duesseldorf were to be hit by work stoppages from 0330-2200 GMT, and Munich from 0330-2300 GMT, the union said on its website yesterday.
UFO last Thursday said industrial action had become "unavoidable" after airline management failed to come up with an improved offer in a dispute over pay and early retirement provisions.
Not affected by the strike are Lufthansa's subsidiaries Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa CityLine SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti and Brussels Airlines.
The strike on Saturday forced Lufthansa to cancel 520 flights, leaving 58,000 passengers grounded.
The stoppage affected all domestic and European flights from Frankfurt and Duesseldorf, Germany's busiest and third-busiest airports.
Flights resumed yesterday "because on that day, most flights are private", said UFO.
UFO has said it plans to target different airports over the course of the week-long blitz of walkouts.
The union is demanding that a current system of early retirement provisions remain unchanged. Lufthansa argues the system is too expensive in the face of competition.

Source: Shanghai Daily
Airline boss under graft investigation
6th November 2015

THE biggest Chinese airline said yesterday that its chairman is being investigated by the country’s anti-corruption agency.
China Southern Airlines said Si Xianmin is being investigated “by the relevant authorities for suspected serious disciplinary violations.”
The phrase usually refers to corruption.
No details were given in the brief statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange. The statement followed a similar announcement posted on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anti-graft body.
Si, who has been chairman since 2009, is the latest top executive at a state-owned company caught up in the country’s widening anti-corruption crackdown.
Earlier this week, the commission said it was investigating the general manager of Dongfeng Motor, China’s second-largest automaker.
China Southern, which is based in the southern boomtown of Guangzhou, is the country’s biggest airline by passengers and fleet size.
China Southern and Dongfeng Motor were among 13 state-owned companies targeted a year ago in a round of inspections by the anti-corruption watchdog.
The airline said last month that an executive vice president was placed under investigation for suspected bribery.

Source: Shanghai Daily
China to free interest rates to suit market demand
5th November 2015

China will push forward measures to make interest rates more market-oriented, enabling the financial sector to better serve the economy, an official statement showed yesterday.
New interest rate formation and adjustment mechanisms must suit market demand, according to the statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
China should enhance supervision of financial institutions to ensure fair play and risk management, the statement said.
The benchmark deposit and lending rates will continue to be used as reference and guidance tools.
To prevent irrational pricing of interest rates, the government will enhance supervision and continue to set different reserve requirement ratios for different institutions.
Mapping of the 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) Plan will be crucial for industrial upgrading, social progress and people’s life, it said, adding that a leading group will be set up to draft the plan.
China will continue to streamline administration and delegate power to the lower levels. Documents for firms to apply for expressway construction will be cut from 17 to seven, which will include land use and environmental protection.
China will also steady growth and boost the restructuring of the industrial sector and grow domestic demand, the statement said.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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