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Dutch insurer ASR may bid for rival Vivat if Chinese owner sells up

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch insurer ASR <ASRNL.AS> said it would consider bidding for Dutch rival Vivat if its Chinese owner Anbang [ANBANG.UL] sells it as part of wider plans to offload European assets.

Anbang Insurance Group bought Vivat, which had been nationalised by the Dutch government, for a nominal 1 euro in 2015 and a 1.35 billion euro ($1.54 billion) equity injection.

Anbang began vetting investment banks to sell its overseas assets in June, after Chinese authorities took over control of the sprawling conglomerate in February.

“We would certainly have a look at Vivat”, an ASR spokesman said on Wednesday. “But not at any price, it would have to fit with our current portfolio.”

Earlier this month, Dutch insurer Aegon <AEGN.AS> said it would also be interested in Vivat, which offers life and casualty insurance and asset management in the Netherlands.

Aegon at the time said it expected Vivat to be put up for sale in the autumn, but ASR said on Wednesday that it had no indication of the possible timing.

ASR is well-positioned to buy, KBC Securities analyst Jason Kalamboussis said, as the insurer beat expectations with a stable operating result of 382 million euros ($445.9 million) in the first half of 2018.

($1 = 0.8568 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer, editing by Louise Heavens)

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