May 22, 2018 / 4:51 AM / 9 months ago

Anbang's Century Securities put up for sale, at least $560 million sought

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters building of Anbang Insurance Group is pictured in Beijing, China, August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Anbang Insurance Group Co’s [ANBANG.UL] Century Securities was put up for sale on Tuesday with a price tag of at least $560 million - the first of planned asset sales under the watch of the state takeover group that has seized control of the troubled firm.

The government took control of Anbang in February, accusing the group’s former chairman of economic crimes - part of a sweeping campaign to reduce financial risk and discourage what it sees as profligate investing by large private conglomerates.

The state takeover group will control Anbang for at least one year and plans to overhaul its equity structure and seek fresh capital from strategic investors in the private sector. It plans a number of asset disposals though it has not clarified how many or which assets they will be.

Anbang’s 91.65 percent stake in the brokerage has been put up for sale for at least 3.56 billion yuan ($558.5 million), the state takeover group said in filings to China Beijing Equity Exchange.

The exchange will conduct an auction if there is more than one bidder.

Preferred investors for the equity transaction should have sufficient capital strength and strong corporate governance, a filing said.

The sale comes two weeks after Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman of Anbang, was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement and sentenced to 18 years in prison in a high-profile trial.

Anbang, once among China’s most aggressive overseas dealmakers and famed for buying New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, bought the stake in Century Securities from a group of investors led by Beijing Tourism Group in 2013.

Reporting By Shu Zhang and Ryan Woo

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