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Allianz, AXA said to submit final offers in CIMB insurance deal

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(Bloomberg) — Allianz SE, AXA SA and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc. made final bids for the rights to distribute their general insurance products through CIMB Group Holdings Bhd.’s branches across Asia, people with knowledge of the matter said.

CIMB could fetch about $200 million from the deal, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The so-called bancassurance agreement will allow an insurer to distribute products through CIMB outlets for more than 10 years, two of the people said.

Malaysia’s second-largest lender by assets has been cutting jobs to reduce costs amid a downturn in the regional business. An agreement would follow the $4.4 billion of insurance acquisitions in Malaysia over the past five years, including AIA Group Ltd.’s $1.7 billion purchase of ING Groep NV’s local business in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest life insurer, said in August last year it will pay S$1.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) to DBS Group Holdings Ltd. to sell its insurance products in Asia for 15 years. AIA Group Ltd. agreed in 2013 to distribute its products through Citigroup Inc. branches in 11 territories from Hong Kong to Australia for 15 years.

CIMB has more than 1,000 retail branches in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia, according to its website. Representatives for CIMB, Allianz, AXA and Sompo declined to comment.

AXA, France’s largest insurer, has been selling assets in some developed markets and investing in faster-growing nations from China to Nigeria. Sompo, Japan’s third-largest general insurer, partners with Berjaya Group Bhd. to offer general insurance in Malaysia through 22 offices, its website shows.

Munich-based Allianz signed a 10-year bancassurance agreement with CIMB in 2007, the year its local unit relisted on the Malaysian stock exchange. Europe’s biggest insurer by market value said in November it aims to generate an additional 6.5 billion euros (US$7.2 billion) in annual premiums and wants to achieve annual earnings per share growth of 5 percent on average from 2016 to 2018.