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FWD Group continues expansion in Asia

by Jennifer Molloy

Hong Kong–based FWD Group Management Holdings, the insurance arm of Pacific Century Group, has completed its acquisition of AIG Fuji Life Insurance Co. from American International Group, marking FWD Group’s entry into the Japanese insurance market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Subject to regulatory approval, AFLI will be renamed FWD Fuji Life Insurance Co.

FWD Group — which seeks to become “the leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance,” said Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD Group CEO, in a statement about the deal — has been scooping up insurers in Asia since its establishment in 2013, after PCG purchased the Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand insurance businesses of ING Group N.V. FWD Group then entered Indonesia and the Philippines in 2014, and Singapore and Vietnam in 2016, with the acquisitions of Shenton Insurance and Great Eastern Life (Vietnam) Co., respectively. Combined, FWD Group had more than 1.2 million customers and more than 2,900 employees prior to the AFLI transaction.

In other news, FWD Group and Singapore’s CapitaLand Commercial Trust Management, the manager of S-REIT CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT), have formed a 50–50 joint venture — One George Street LLP — to own the 23-story, class A building near Singapore’s Raffles Place, Clarke Quay and Chinatown MRT stations. One George Street, currently 100 percent owned by CCT, will be divested into the JV for an agreed value of S$1.18 billion ($848.0 million) or S$2,650 ($1,899) per square foot. This is a 16.7 percent increase over the property’s Dec. 31, 2016, valuation of S$1.01 billion ($726.6 million) and S$2,271 ($1,628) per square foot. CCT will receive approximately S$591.6 million ($424.0 million) for 50 percent of the agreed value. The deal is expected to close this June.

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