Posted on Mar 23, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa
By selling about one third of its remaining stake in the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Ltd., Allianz SE the biggest insurer in Europe, has made a profit of US$545 million (EUR 400 million).
Back in February of this year, Allianz sold 1 billion shares of ICBC, according to a report recently published in their website. Allianz originally owned 3.22 billion ICBC shares, which are traded in the HK Stock Exchange and were equivalent to a 0.97 percent stake of this Chinese bank, the largest lender in the world by market value.
The shares sold in February could have been sold back in October of last year, when the lockup for the second half of its stake ended but Allianz decided to keep them. The sale of the first half of its stake were immediately sold in April, with Allianz booking a US$897 million (EUR 658 million) gain.
ICBC did the IPO of its shares in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange back in October 2006 and Allianz, along with American Express and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., bought its original stake six months before then. These companies agreed at that time to hold half their shares for three years, and the remainder for an additional half year.
ICBC shares have outperformed by 8 percent the 67 percent gain of the benchmark Hang Seng Index over the last 12 months. Over this same period, Allianz shares have gained 45 percent in value.
This latest sale reported by Allianz will have a positive financial impact for earnings booked under the first quarter of 2010.
Allianz Group is one of the leading global services providers in insurance and asset management. With approximately 153,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves approximately 75 million customers in about 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence.
By the end of 2008, ICBC had altogether 385,609 employees and 16,386 domestic and overseas branches, providing extensive and high-quality financial products and services to 190 million personal clients and 3.1 million corporate clients.