Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Axa Asia unit snubs $10bn offer

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French firm Axa wants to increase its assets in Asia

Australian insurer Axa Asia Pacific Holdings has rejected a takeover bid from its French parent firm Axa and local rival AMP.

Under the proposed takeover, worth about $10.3bn, AMP would buy all of Axa Asia Pacific's shares, including Axa's.

AMP would then hold on to Axa Asia Pacific's Australian and New Zealand assets, and sell the rest back to Axa.

The French insurer will also launch a 2bn euro ($3bn, £1.8bn) rights issue to fund its expansion plans.

Asian operations

Axa Asia Pacific said the offer significantly undervalued the company.

"The proposal has been received against the backdrop of recent weakness in global financial markets and before the growth of our Asian operations is fully reflected in our profitability," said Axa Asia Pacific chairman Rick Allert.

As well as operation in Australia and New Zealand, Axa Asia Pacific has operations in Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Axa, which is Europe's second-largest insurer, bought a 51% stake in the company in 1995.

Separately, Reuters reported that Axa's sale of its stake in Chinese life insurer Taikang has attracted bids from private equity firm Blackstone and Singapore's Temasek among others, valuing the 15.6% stake at more than $1bn.

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