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Source: Reuters

Hong Kong's BEA buys AIG's brokerage unit in Taiwan

Published: 21 Jun 2009 18:16:34 PST

* BEA first Hong Kong bank to invest in Taiwan brokerage

* Deal worth about $6 million

* BEA eyes Taiwan's fast-growing wealth management business

TAIPEI, June 22 (Reuters) - Bank of East Asia has bought into AIG's Taiwanese brokerage unit, making it the first Hong Kong bank to invest in a securities brokerage in Taiwan, the companies said.

The announcement comes days after market sources said several U.S. private equity firms and Taiwanese financial groups were showing interest in buying AIG's Taiwan life insurance unit as the troubled company tries to offload its assets in Asia. "The deal is worth about T$200 million ($6.1 million)," the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters on Monday.

Bank of East Asia, Hong Kong's fifth-largest lender, said in a statement issued late on Friday that the move would give it a foothold in Taiwan's fast-growing wealth-management business, which is Asia's fourth-largest.

AIG set up its Taiwan securities brokerage in 2007 and was the first foreign financial institution to get a licence to operate in the sector here, Bank of East Asia said in its news release.

By 0200 GMT, Bank of East Asia shares were up 0.41 percent, outperforming the Hang Seng index's 0.2 percent rise. (Reporting by Rachel Lee; Writing by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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