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August 18, 2009

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Ping An: Equities ratio to be near 10%

PING An Insurance (Group) Co will maintain its equities investment ratio at about 10 percent this year as it holds a conservative attitude toward China's stock market, senior executives said yesterday.

The Shenzhen-based insurer's equities investment ratio rose to 9.6 percent as of the end of June from 7.8 percent at the beginning of the year.

"We are conservative about China's stock market this year though we are bullish on its long-term prospects," Louis Cheung, executive director and group president of the country's second-biggest insurer, said yesterday in Hong Kong.

He said the 10 percent equities investment ratio is "reasonable."

Meanwhile, the insurer will seek alternative sources of revenue as China's insurance regulator approves more investment channels for insurers.

Ping An will invest in areas such as commercial property in the future to better its assets-debt allocation, said Peter Ma, chairman and chief executive officer of Ping An, yesterday in Shanghai.

"In terms of investment, assets-debt allocation is more important than investment returns for the insurer," Ma said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has gained 57.7 percent since the beginning of this year despite dropping 5.8 percent yesterday.

Meanwhile, Ma said the company does not plan to invest in another bank after its deal with Shenzhen Development Bank.

Ping An said in June that it planned to pay 22.1 billion yuan (US$3.24 billion) to increase its stake in Shenzhen Development Bank from 5 percent to 30 percent.

Ping An also plans to spend 4.5 billion yuan to take part in a rights issue by its banking unit Ping An Bank. It owns 90 percent of Ping An Bank.


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