Source: Bloomberg News | 2012-12-19 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
AMERICAN International Group Inc, the insurer that repaid a US bailout, raised HK$50 billion (US$6.45 billion) from the sale of its remaining stake in AIA Group Ltd, pricing shares in the top half of the range. The Asian company's shares dropped the most in almost five months.
AIG sold 1.65 billion shares at HK$30.30 each, AIA said in a statement yesterday. The shares were offered at HK$29.65 to HK$30.65 each. AIA fell 3.3 percent to close at HK$30.60 in Hong Kong, the most since July 23. It was the biggest decliner and most actively traded stock by both volume and value in the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index with HK$56.6 billion (US$7.3 billion) worth of shares changing hands yesterday.
AIG Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche has sold more than US$65 billion in assets, including AIA, Asian headquarters, and a US consumer lender, to raise cash to help repay the US bailout. He's scaled back at AIG, once the world's largest insurer, to focus on US life insurance and global property-casualty coverage.
"This latest divestment of the remaining holding is noteworthy in AIA's history since it marks the end of AIG's shareholder interest in AIA," AIA CEO Mark Tucker said in a statement, adding AIG had provided "unwavering support" since its initial divestment.
The amount means the New York-based company has raised about US$35 billion in four offerings of the Hong Kong-based life insurer. The sale is expected to complete tomorrow.
AIA shares were sold at a 4.3 percent discount from the last traded price of HK$31.65 before the announcement. Yesterday's decline pared AIA's share price gain this year to 26 percent this year, against the 25 percent gain of Hong Kong's Hang Seng Finance Index tracking 12 banks, insurers and the city's exchange operator.
Almost 1.9 billion AIA shares were traded yesterday, representing 15 percent of its outstanding shares.
"The main impact of the sale is that any 'overhang' left in the stock from AIG selling is now gone," said Arjan van Veen, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG.