Chinese Firm Hang Lung Denies Talks to Buy Clal Insurance Stake

Israeli media outlets may have reported otherwise but it doesn't invest outside China, Hang Lung elaborates.

The Chinese investment firm Hang Lung Group denied it is negotiating to buy a stake in Israeli insurance company Clal Insurance from the IDB group, which is controlled by Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner.

Hang Lung had reportedly been in talks with IDB group firm IDB Development Corporation. But it said it is not interested in buying businesses outside of Hong Kong and China.

IDB said last week it was in advanced talks to sell a 30 percent stake in Clal Insurance to a group of investors based in China, a deal valued at 4.6 billion shekels. IDB did not name the potential buyer but the Israeli newspapers said it was Chinese investment firm Hang Lung Group.

"Hang Lung Group and Hang Lung Properties would like to set the record straight and state that the two companies have no knowledge of the aforesaid talks or deal," it said in a statement. "They have neither approached IDB Development for the purchase nor have they had any intention to take up shares in Clal Insurance."

It added that the "market rumours are groundless and not based on any information from Hang Lung."

A Tel Aviv court set a late August deadline for indebted Israeli conglomerate IDB Holding Corp., the parent of IDB Development, to sell its stake in Clal Insurance.

IDB said it had received a number of other offers during the process to sell Clal Insurance.

Many of the companies IDB owns have been hit by slowing economic growth and increased competition. IDB Holding owes bondholders NIS 2 billion and IDB Development owes a further NIS 5.8 billion.

Channel Two