Anbang chairman bullish on ‘cheap assets’ in Europe

2017-03-20 00:56:39 GMT2017-03-20 08:56:39(Beijing Time) Global Times

The chairman of China's privately held Anbang Insurance Group said at the China Development Forum on Saturday that he is bullish on investing in Europe despite great uncertainty over issues including refugees, economic challenges and rising populism.

Europe has "very cheap assets" and Chinese investors can take advantage of cheap funding to acquire companies with good technology, said Wu Xiaohui.

Regarding the chances of a "black swan" event in Europe, "if we combine Europe with China, I believe the chance of a black swan will be very small," Wu told the forum.

A "black swan" event is one that occurs outside of expected patterns or norms of a given situation and that is extremely difficult to predict.

Anbang, established in 2004 as an auto insurer, has emerged as one of China's most aggressive buyers of overseas assets in the past two years, spending more than $30 billion buying luxury hotels, insurers and other assets.

Based in Beijing, Anbang manages some 1.65 trillion yuan ($240 billion) worth of assets, and it has been involved in some high-profile deals, including buying control of Fidea, a Belgium-based insurer, and the Belgian banking operations of Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd.

Wu declined to comment on a potential plan for an IPO when asked by Reuters. Chinese companies carried out 172 cross-border mergers and acquisitions in Europe in 2016, with a total value of $89 billion, according to a statement on the website of domestic PE consulting firm China Venture Group. The figure is higher than the $84.7 billion worth of deals in the US last year.

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