Hopu said to invest at least $400 million in Chinese insurer

Cathy Chan

Hopu Investment Management Co., the China-focused fund backed by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte, bought at least $400 million of stock in China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co., said three people familiar with the matter.

The private-equity fund bought about 13 percent of the $3.1 billion of shares China Pacific Insurance and a shareholder sold yesterday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. China’s third-biggest insurer sold stock in Hong Kong at HK$28 apiece.

Hopu, the $2.5 billion fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s China partner Fang Fenglei, made its first investment in an insurer after buying shares in Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp this year. Bank of China has more than doubled in Hong Kong trading since Hopu bought a stake from Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in January.

Institutional investors ordered more than six times the China Pacific Insurance shares available to them, people familiar with the deal said yesterday. China Pacific Insurance shares also trade in Shanghai, where they’ve rallied 120 percent this year.

Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance is among Chinese companies tapping this year’s 49 percent rally in Hong Kong’s benchmark index to complete share sales delayed from 2007 and 2008 by the global financial crisis.

Hopu Chief Executive Officer Richard Ong declined to comment. Liu Li, a spokeswoman for China Pacific Insurance, had no immediate comment. China International Capital Corp., Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs and UBS AG arranged the sale.

Minsheng sale

China Pacific Insurance and the National Social Security Fund sold a combined 861.3 million shares, or a 10.2 percent stake in the insurer part-owned by Carlyle Group, three people familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Last month, Hopu abandoned a plan to invest as much as $1.3 billion in China Minsheng Banking Corp.’s Hong Kong stock sale after the Beijing-based bank priced its shares higher than what the fund was willing to pay, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.


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