China’s Anbang Insurage Group, which owns the Waldorf=Astoria New York and other hotels in the U.S. and which tried to buy Starwood before ultimately being outbid by Marriott, has been ordered by the Chinese government to sell overseas assets and repatriate the proceeds to China. Anbang says they have no plans to do that. (HT: Alan H.)
Waldorf=Astoria New York, Owned by Anbang. Credit: Hilton
Chinese authorities have asked Anbang Insurance Group Co., the insurer whose chairman was detained in June, to sell its overseas assets, according to people familiar with the matter.
The government has also asked Anbang to bring the proceeds back to China after disposing of holdings abroad, said the people, who asked not to be identified because details are private. It is not clear yet how Anbang will respond, the people said.
“Anbang at present has no plans to sell its overseas assets,” the company said in a WeChat message.
Anbang’s Chairman was detained last month.
Like many Chinese companies of its size, it’s both politically connected and opaque.
Chairman Wu Xiaohui is married to Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter. Anbang director Chen Xiaolu’s father was a military commander who served Mao Zedong. Levin Zhu, son of a former Chinese Premier, has been listed as an Anbang director though has publicly said he never agreed to be on the board.
As with the detention of Anbang’s chairman, explanations limiting financial risk and China’s anti-corruption efforts. There are fears that huge debts of companies like Anbang and HNA, backed by the government, create the potential for catastrophic economic shocks. They also fear the capital flight from China as the government seeks to prop up its economy.
A year ago Anbang was reportedly considering buying IHG hotels as well.