Singapore's life insurer Great Eastern exits Vietnam: report

Thanh Nien News

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Singaporean life insurance company Great Eastern Holdings Ltd has reportedly pulled out of the Vietnamese market after nine years of operation to focus on other Southeast Asian markets.
The company is set to complete the sale of its business in Vietnam this June 21, The Strait Times said on Tuesday, citing Great Eastern's filing to the Singapore Exchange.
FWD Life Insurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd, a unit of Hong Kong's Pacific Century Group, has struck a deal to acquire the operation at S$48.2 million (US$35.49 million), compared to its net book value of S$47.5 million, according to the report.
Describing the exit as "a comprehensive strategic review," Great Eastern CEO Khor Hock Seng said in the website that it will increase its focus on its core markets of Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Indonesia and Brunei.
He promised to ensure "a smooth transition" for customers and employees in Vietnam, stressing that FWD pledged to "honor all in-force policies." 
Figures from Vietnam's Ministry of Finance showed the Singaporean insurer accounted for only 0.08 percent of the premium revenue from new life policies recorded in 2015.
Local giant Bao Viet together with four foreign insurers -- AIA, Dai-ichi, Manulife and Prudential -- made up more than 75 percent of the market.
Vietnam now has 17 life insurance companies whose combined sales rose 29.5 percent year on year to VND36.65 trillion ($1.61 billion) in 2015.
The Association of Vietnamese Insurers forecast the market to grow 20 percent this year.

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