Nod for Prudential-Pacific & orient talks.

Friday 13 August 2010. By The StarBizWeek.

Kuala Lumpur:Bank Negara has given the nod for Prudential Holdings Ltd to begin talks to buy a stake in insurer Pacific & Orient, according to a source with direct knowledge of the deal.

Prudential Holdings, a subsidiary of Prudential PLC, is the latest foreign insurer keen to enter Malaysia’s growing insurance market.

Pacific & Orient received the approval by fax yesterday (Wednesday) Morning, but there have been no discussions about a price yet,” the source said, asking not to be identified as the approval had not been made public.

Pacific & Orient had said earlier this month that it asked Bank Negara for approval to begin preliminary talks for the potential divestment of an equity interest in Pacific & Orient to Prudential.

The news follows Malaysia’s Hong Leong Financial Group announcement in June that it would merge its non-life insurance business with Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co and sell a stake in its life business in deals worth about US$480mil.

Analysts had said Prudential might be changing its approach to penetrating the Asian market after its failed bid for AIG’s Asian unit.

Prudential now holds a composite license in Malaysia that covers both the life and general insurance businesses. ~ Reuters.

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Analysts say Prudential-P&O merger may offer mutual synergies. P&O awaits Bank Negara approval.