AIA Group and China Pacific Insurance Group have emerged as the top contenders for Bank of East Asia’s (BEA) general insurance operations, BNN Bloomberg has reported citing undisclosed sources.

Zurich Insurance Group and China Merchants Group are also among the potential bidders for BEA’s Blue Cross Asia-Pacific Insurance and have reached the next stage of talks.

As per the publication’s earlier report, the divesture could fetch BEA between $300m and $400m. 

The talks are ongoing and a final decision is yet to be made, the sources said adding that the firm can still abandon the deal. 

BEA is always on the lookout for strategic options for its assets, a BEA spokesperson was cited by the publication as saying, who declined to comment on Blue Cross’ divesture. 

Representatives for AIA, China Merchants and Zurich did not comment on the deal, while China Pacific did not respond to the publication’s requests for comment.

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By GlobalData

The Hong-Kong-based bank is said to be working with Goldman Sachs Group on the divesture, which is aimed at diluting BEA’s non-core assets and focusing on growth areas including its China operations.

In early 2021, AIA Group has agreed to buy the life insurance arm of BEA in a cash deal worth around $650m.

At the time, both the firms also entered a distribution agreement, which will see BEA distribute AIA’s life and long-term savings products exclusively to its retail customers.