April 17, 2019 / 9:52 AM / 9 days ago

China's troubled Anbang to slash registered capital by a third

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the headquarters of Anbang Insurance Group in Beijing, China, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co said it would reduce its registered capital by nearly one-third, the latest government-directed step of a massive restructuring of the debt-laden conglomerate to curb financial risks.

A state takeover work group, which has seized control of Anbang since February last year, has decided to trim the company’s registered capital to 41.5 billion yuan ($6.21 billion) from 61.9 billion yuan, pending approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, Anbang said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The capital reduction will not influence the company’s operations or cause any major impact on its solvency and financial situations, Anbang said.

The move is the latest step by Beijing to steadily clean up the aftermath of a harsh government crackdown on Anbang - once one of China’s most aggressive dealmakers overseas with a series of major acquisitions that have caught the attention of global regulators and investors.

Anbang’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, who masterminded the overseas deal spree including the purchase of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, was sentenced in May 2018 to 18 years imprisonment for fraud and embezzlement. His appeal against the conviction was rejected by a Chinese court in August last year.

Creditors of the company may request Anbang to pay off its debts or provide repayment guarantees within 45 days after the announcement, the company added.

Reporting by Cheng Leng in BEIJING and Shu Zhang in SINGAPORE; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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