CP: No truth to Thaksin's Ping An link
Dec 25, 2012 (Menafn - Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The conglomerate controlled by Thailand's richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont, yesterday insisted its recent purchase of a stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co is legitimate and that the source of funds is transparent.
Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group also denied a report by local Chinese media that behind-the-scenes buyers of a stake in Ping An Insurance from HSBC Holdings may include former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and an influential mainland businessman.
"We believe in Ping An Insurance's development, and this major acquisition would allow the new business ventures to team up with Ping An Insurance to help China's rural economic development," CP said in a release.
Earlier this month, the group agreed to pay US9.39 billion (289 billion baht) to acquire a 15.57% stake in Ping An from HSBC Holdings Plc, the major shareholder.
The stake was sold to four of the group's wholly owned subsidiaries: Tongying Maoyi Co Ltd, Longfu Group Co Ltd, Shangfa Konggu Co Ltd and Yisheng Fazhan Co Ltd.
The deal, advised by Siam Commercial Bank, will receive financial support from the China Development Bank's Hong Kong branch. Ping An provides casualty, property and life insurance as well as financial services.
"CP wants to clarify that all four buyer companies are subsidiaries wholly owned by CP, and such acquisition deals are legitimately financed by CP, CP's shareholders and subsidiaries," the group said.
The statement came after Caixin Media's Century Weekly magazine reported, citing sources, that about a third of the HK15.2-billion (60 billion baht) first tranche of the purchase was funded by Thaksin's family, with the rest coming from businessman Xiao Jianhua.
Mr Xiao is the founder of several banking and securities firms and has also invested in some. He is reportedly close to former top government leaders and mainland securities regulators.
Century Weekly said his purchase of the Ping An stake was funded by three commercial banks he has ties to.
Meanwhile, the official Securities Times reported Ping An's management had bought back some of the insurer's shares from HSBC, which Ping An also promptly denied.
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