Posted by: Dexter Roberts on February 9, 2009
Chinese investors burned badly following a series of overseas investments over the last year mainly in international banks and financial companies, are getting more assertive. That’s clear following the decision by China’s insurer Ping An to block Belgium’s planned share sale of Fortis NV’s banking and insurance unit to BNP Paribas. “Since September 2008, the decisions to sell assets were driven by the Belgian government and have not only destroyed Fortis’ value but have also severely impaired Fortis shareholders’ interests as a whole,” Ping An said in a statement reported by Reuters.
Fortis’ shares have fallen precipitously since Ping An became the largest shareholder spending some $2.8 billion for a 5% stake last year. The decision by Ping An to block the sale (a vote of shareholders is expected Wednesday) is aimed at winning shareholders a bigger stake in the bank or stopping the deal outright. Recent Chinese investments in the likes of Barclays PLC, Morgan Stanley and the Blackstone Group LP have all been loss-makers.