The life insurance unit of South Korean conglomerate Samsung is seeking to acquire a stake in Vietnam-based Bao Viet Life, according to the Korea Times.
Samsung Life revealed to the publication that it was in talks to acquire part of Bao Viet Life’s shares without divulging details of the investment.
“There are hurdles to be addressed regarding some legal issues with the Vietnamese government,” the Korea Times report said, quoting a Samsung Life spokesperson.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Samsung Life is planning to purchase about 20 per cent of the largest Vietnamese life insurer.
Bao Viet Life recorded a 32.5 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue in 2018, reaching VND29.34 trillion (nearly $1.34 billion). It continued to lead the local life insurance market with an estimated 18.6 per cent market share by the end of the third quarter last year.
The firm has set a target of 20 per cent growth in 2019. Bao Viet Life is wholly owned by Bao Viet Holdings, a $2.9 billion listed financial group.
While Bao Viet Life has never offered its shares to foreign shareholders before, the Vietnam life insurance market has attracted a lot of international investors.
Recent deals have seen overseas firms set up their wholly-owned units in the country through acquisitions of remaining stakes of local joint venture partners, including Mirae Asset Life Insurance and Previor Vietnam, Aviva Group and Vietinbank Aviva, and Sun Life Assurance and PVI Sun Life.
There were about 18 active life insurance companies in Vietnam, of which only Bao Viet Life has no foreign ownership, according to the Vietnam Insurance Association in 2018.
The non-life insurance segment in Vietnam has also captured interest from Korean investors. Most recently, Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance has agreed to buy 25 per cent shares of Vietinbank Insurance, while KB Insurance was said to acquire a 17 per cent stake in Bao Minh Insurance.