Carlyle Among Bidders for AIG Tawain Unit

Global investors Carlyle and Primus are among the bidders for AIG’s (AIG.N) Taiwan insurance unit, sources said on Friday, as the troubled U.S. insurer looks to divest some of its global assets.

Friday is the deadline for interested companies to submit their proposals to purchase Nan Shan Life, AIG’s Taiwan unit, in a deal that could be worth more than $2 billion, sources close to the bidders told Reuters.

“I think almost everybody in the industry is interested in Nan Shan, but the only problem is of course price, so those who decide to submit bids will be really brave and aggressive investors,” one source told Reuters.

Chinatrust Financial (2891.TW) and Cathay Financial (2882.TW) groups in Taiwan, which Taiwan media reported are also interested in buying up Nan Shan, declined to comment.

Representatives for Washington D.C.-based Carlyle and Hong Kong-based Primus Financial Holdings, founded by Robert Morse, a former top Citigroup Inc (C.N) executive for Asia, declined to comment.

In June, sellside adviser Morgan Stanley (MS.N) distributed key financial data of Nan Shan to potential buyers including some of Nan Shan’s domestic rivals.

Several private equity industry sources who looked at Nan Shan said they were concerned about the asset quality of the Taiwanese insurer as well as the gap of price between what the seller targets and the buyer may want to pay for.

Last month, sources told Reuters that several U.S. private equity firms and Taiwanese financial groups, such as JC Flowers, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Fubon Financial (2881.TW), were interested in bidding for Nan Shan.

Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Sean Chen told reporters on Friday regulators would welcome the deal so long as foreign investors have a long-term interest in the island’s financial markets.

If AIG sells Nan Shan, it will not be the first foreign firm to get rid of insurance units in Taiwan. Last October, Holland’s ING Groep (ING.AS) sold its insurance unit to Fubon for $600 million, while Britain’s Prudential (PRU.L) got rid of its Taiwan operation to Taipei-based China Life (2823.TW) earlier this year.

By George Chen and Rachel Lee

(Writing by Lee Chyen Yee; editing by Simon Jessop)