HONG KONG, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Chinese property developer Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd will pay $617 million for a 50 percent stake in a joint-venture life insurer, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
The deal was approved by China's insurance regulator on Friday.
Evergrande Nanchang, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary, will pay 3,939,110,600 yuan ($617.08 million) for a 50 percent stake in Great Eastern Life Assurance (China) Co Ltd. After the transaction the insurer will be called Evergrande Life.
"The acquisition is a strategic deployment for the Group to enter the insurance sector," Evergrande said. "Currently, China's insurance sector has entered a fast track of development, where insurance licenses have their own unique capital investment value."
Evergrande said it will promote its insurance services in its more than 300 new housing developments.
Great Eastern was formed as a joint-venture by the Chongqing and Singapore governments. Evergrande will buy the shares held by the Chongqing City Construction Investment (Group) Co. Ltd and the Chongqing Land Group. The Chongqing Casin Group Co Ltd and The Great Eastern Life Assurance Co will each retain their 25 percent holdings.
The insurer made a loss in each of the two previous years ended Dec. 31, according to the filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
For additional details, please see: http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/sehk/2015/1122/LTN20151122007.pdf
($1 = 6.3835 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Stephen Powell)